Since Alan Pardew became Newcastle manager nine months ago, it has been his and Mike Ashley’s policy to tie players at the club down to long term deals. This is to try and prevent the issue that happened this summer, as they were forced to sell Jose Enrique to Liverpool for a relatively modest sum in fear of losing him on a free at the end of the season.
This policy brought Newcastle in a great deal of money when they sold Andy Carroll to the same club in January, and hopefully has put off other Premier League clubs from making a bid for Cheik Tiote. However, there are downfalls of this policy: namely being left with players who have fallen out of favour. This is what has happened with Newcastle striker Nile Ranger.
Ranger was a promising youngster at Newcastle and arguably still could be, but since Chris Hughton was sacked as manager, Pardew hasn’t really given him a look in. One of Hughton’s last acts was to tie Ranger down to the club until 2016, a move that is now looking like a mistake as the Magpies try and offload the youngster, who could even be reunited with Hughton once again at Birmingham.
The 20 year old, who was 19 when he signed that mega deal, is one of Newcastle’s last so-called trouble makers at the club. Just this week Ranger has been bailed in an assault probe and given his lack of discipline at training, I can’t see Pardew giving him a go any time soon, especially with the performance of Sammy Ameobi against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup this week.
So, back to the issue of handing out long term contracts. I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing. I wouldn’t go back to just handing out short contracts, as then you’re more likely to have your better players poached by clubs with more money. However, to give a 19 year old who had never, and still hasn’t, scored a Premier League goal a 5 and a half year contract seems like a strange move.
It is likely to come back to haunt them, as Ranger won’t be willing to give up his salary and so Newcastle are likely to be stuck with him, either playing for the reserves or on loan at a Championship club. I’m all for long contracts, but like anything, it cannot just be a blanket policy and needs to be implemented correctly and with plenty of thought.
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