After a promising start to the 2011/12 campaign many fans have been waxing lyrical about the performances of Newcastle’s new look midfield. Yohan Cabaye is settling into the squad nicely and has shown some real glimpses of class, particularly against Aston Villa where he forced a string of fine saves from Toon old boy Shay Given. His partnership with Tiote in the center of the park has drawn plaudits from fans and pundits alike with some considering it one of the finest in the league. Fellow new boy Gabriel Obertan has similarly impressed and has been a revelation on the right wing. His direct running combined with and an eye for a pass has cemented him in the Newcastle first team. Like Cabaye and Tiote in the middle, Obertan has formed a solid partnership down the right flank with fellow ex-Manchester Utd man Danny Simpson.
Despite these positive developments, one member of the midfield is proving to be somewhat of a headache for many fans. A favourite on Tyneside, Jonas Gutierrez is known for his direct running, bursts of pace and never say die attitude. His work rate is such that I’m sure he could feature on a fitness dvd! Now in his fourth season at the club, Jonas is unfortunately still exhibiting that characteristic of his game that has seen his stock plummet amongst the Newcastle faithful, namely, the absence of a final ball. Jonas burst onto the scene in 2008 with an impressive debut against Man Utd and left many thinking that we had found a real star. Yet 119 games later Jonas finds himself with the paltry haul of 7 goals and 19 assists.
With his contract expiring at the end of next season it looks as if it is only a matter of time before Jonas, like many before him, will be shown the door. The Newcastle hierarchy will definitely not want to let their man leave on a free and a new and improved contract looks highly unlikely given his decidedly average performances for the club. And one should definitely not rule out a January exit if the right money is offered.
With the creative talents of Sylvain Marveaux waiting in the wings and youngster Mehdi Abeid looking tidy against Forest in the cup, it looks like plans have already been laid for his departure and fans should not expect a replacement to be brought in, something which will undoubtedly draw the ire of the anti-Ashley contingent.
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