The January transfer window is likely to prove to be an extremely important one for Newcastle United and Alan Pardew. In recent weeks a day hasn’t gone by without another Premier League club being linked with Geordie sensation Andy Carroll. Tottenham, Manchester United and City are all rumoured to be interested in the Newcastle striker, with crazy swap deals involving Spurs forwards Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch even being touted. It is imperative that Carroll stays at Newcastle in January, not just to ensure their Premier League status is secure for this season, but for the long-term prospects of the club as well.
Although I wouldn’t have imagined saying this six months ago, I think the same also goes for Joey Barton. Even if Barton is one of the highest earners at the club, he has shown in recent months that he is one of Newcastle’s star performers. So it is extremely important that Alan Pardew keeps his promise and holds onto the talents of Carroll and Barton. Those are two players Newcastle simply have to keep, but which player would I like to see brought in?
I think Newcastle’s most pressing concern is to get a striker to take some of the pressure off Carroll’s back. Shola Ameobi’s effort is admirable, but I don’t think he has the quality to be a regular starter in the Premier League and while Nile Ranger has plenty of potential, which he’s shown frequently in the past 18 months, I’m not quite he’s ready for the step up, although I hope I’m proved wrong. Peter Lovenkrands is fairly average and alright as backup, but Leon Best and Xisco simply don’t cut the mustard, so Pardew needs to reinforce his strike force, but who should he turn to?
A name doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Youngster Connor Wickham has been mentioned in passing but I think Ranger fits the bill of a player with bags of potential. The other player regularly linked with Newcastle is Robbie Keane, but is he really what Newcastle are after? There’s no doubting Keane is a good player, he may not have shown that much recently, but he has loads of experience and I’m sure would be a good character to have in the dressing room. Would a partnership with Carroll work? Maybe. Should Newcastle try to snare him on loan? Definitely!
Talking of loan deals, out of favour Manchester City midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips has once again been touted as a target for Newcastle. A couple of years back Newcastle were on the verge of signing SWP after reportedly having a bid accepted, but a move didn’t materialise. With Wayne Routledge struggling to establish himself in the Premier League once more, a temporary move for SWP would seem to be the perfect solution.
While I reckon a move for Robbie Keane could he hit or miss, I think the arrival of SWP on Tyneside would most certainly be the former. The St James’ Park faithful love nothing more than watching a winger who takes players on and in those terms SWP fits the bill perfectly. Newcastle also need cover for Jose Enrique at left back and then they’re still left with a striking dilemma. However, I think some faith should be shown in Ranger, while Kevin Nolan can also be played in an advanced position alongside Carroll and Hatem Ben Arfa can play in the ‘hole’ when he returns from injury. So who should Newcastle set their sights on in January? For me it has to be SWP!