Newcastle United just missed out on Champions League qualification last season on the final day of the campaign and, as long as they can keep their top players, are only one or two key signings away from actually eclipsing last season’s success.
Here’s five players who could take the Geordies back to the Champions League for the first time in a decade…
1. Mathieu Debuchy
Arguably Newcastle United’s weakest position last season was at right-back. Defender Danny Simpson, who Newcastle fans must remember was bought for a Championship campaign three seasons ago as a replacement for the departed Habib Beye, was often found out to be out of his depth against some of the best wide-men in the Premier League last term. He isn’t good in the air, he too often get caught out in position (the many away game drubbings Newcastle suffered last season came from his flank) and was often shaky in the big games. He was decent at going forward but only that, often with his crossing letting him down in the final third. Though we do admit he is one of the best the club have at last ditch goal line clearances and nobody can knock his work rate.
It has been well reported that Simpson has just one year left to run on his current contract, believed to be earning him somewhere in the region of £25,000 per week. The 25-year-old believes because he played more league games than any of his fellow defenders and is an important first team player for the club that he should be on a contract closer to that of captain Fabricio Coloccini (believed to be worth as much as £80,000 per week) to which Newcastle don’t believe he is anywhere near worth and they want to sell.
Newcastle have been pursing a replacement for Simpson all summer. They have made two offers for Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy who has impressed with his performances at Euro 2012 and looks as accomplished as anyone in Europe in his position. He links up well with his “close friend” Yohan Cabaye in midfield and is confident on the ball, able to attack or defend in equal measure.
The addition of Debuchy would cut out many of Newcastle’s defensive mistakes next season and his forward and natural play with Cabaye will be a huge asset for The Toon in both areas of the pitch. It really is no surprise they have just gone back in with a £7.5 million offer and are determined to land their man.
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