With Newcastle United currently defying expectations in third place in the Premiership (a position earned on merit, despite what some pundits might suggest), some commenters might be forgiven for assuming that Mike Ashley will resist the temptation to plunder the untouched warchest to bring in further playing staff, but the simple fact remains that Newcastle currently boast one of the smallest squads in the division.
The problem for Newcastle fans might be that Ashley sees the immediate, short-term success of his financial model and chooses to believe that he has put together a complete package already, but from what we are hearing, he recognises the need to invest (though to what degree remains up for serious debate).
Anyway, it seems that Ashley, or his management team at least, have already been busy looking at potential new additions: with Mobido Maiga rumoured to be very close to an early transfer window move to Tyneside from Sochaux, and the scouting team currently working hard to find adequate defensive cover as well
News has reached us that Newcastle’s first team coach Steve Stone was recently tasked with infiltrating deep enemy waters to run the rule over Sunderland’s attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon.
Signed from French giants Paris St Germain for £6m in August last year, Sessegnon, who plays for Benin, but is of Ivorian heritage like potential new club-mate Cheick Tiote (if it all comes off) has been in impressive form this season, scoring two goals from an advanced position and winning a Man of the Match award for his performance against Aston Villa.
With a midfield already full of talent, and a bench that currently contains Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux and Dan Gosling, it’s a strange one, but as Steve Bruce is currently discovering, Sessegnon offers options in several different advanced positions. In the game between the two North East clubs, the Benin international was an early, and largely unabated thorn in the Newcastle defence’s side, sitting between the midfield and attacking lines, until Bruce made the odd (and fatal) decision to stop him playing in that hole.
The question seems to be whether Pardew and his scouting team are looking at Sessegnon as a possible additional attacking option – though given his value to the Sunderland team, the price tag might represent a serious stumbling block, especially if he continues to earn points for his current team as he did in their latest fixture against Villa. And then of course there is the question of whether Ellis Short would be willing to let the brightest talent of his current squad leave at all.
So what do you think, Newcastle fans? Would you willingly accept Sessegnon at St James Park, following the likes of Lee Clark, Paul Bracewell, Barry Venison and Stan Anderson in swapping red and white for black and white stripes?
Personally, I’m not convinced it will happen, but the appearance of Stone on that particular brief would seem to be an indication of at least initial interest.
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