Newcastle: Crisis Club Or Stable Side?

With Newcastle United sustaining there place in the Premier League after their promotion from the Championship, are they a team who should be looking for a top 10 finish or will they be fighting in the relegation battle come the 2011/2012 season?

The departure of striker Andy Carroll was a huge blow for the Toon who scored 11 goals for the club this season before moving to Anfield in January. But manager Alan Pardew made it his top priority to bring in a goal scorer to be Carroll’s replacement.

And the capture of former West Ham striker Demba Ba proves Pardew’s intentions. The Senegalese international scored seven goals in 12 games for the Hammers and so caught United’s attention after his club were relegated. Pardew said: ‘Demba has an eye for goal and I think he will be a big success for us.

‘He made a big impression at West Ham last season and is a great signing for the club. He has pace, excellent technical ability and is good in the air.’

So it appears Newcastle are on the right track with their new attacking threat but one player is not enough to maintain Premier League status. The black and white army have been spending their £35million obtained from Carroll’s transfer on two French midfielders.

Yohan Cabaye was signed prior to Kevin Nolan’s departure from Lille to strengthen the squad. However boss Pardew has insisted he is not a direct replacement for Nolan: ‘It’s important we replace Kevin with the right type of player, but Cabaye will give us a different look. He’s got a different to style to the midfielders we have got.’

Newcastle’s second Frenchman has come from Rennes on a five-year deal. Sylvain Marveaux is a left-sided player who attracted a number of clubs including Liverpool but ended up going to Tyneside. He is the third Frenchman recently signed by the club behind Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, who will return to playing in the top flight after sustaining a long term injury early in the 2010/2011 season.

The three Frenchmen will likely improve the chemistry in the team and so could help to build towards the Toon’s top 10 finish target; which the players for a club of this stature should surely be capable of achieving.

However, Newcastle’s promising return to the Premier League was down to some influential players such as Carroll, Nolan and full-back Jose Enrique. Carroll and Nolan have both moved on while Enrique’s future remains uncertain. His impressive and consistent season has brought himself attention from the likes of Barcelona.

The Magpie’s defence is not the best in the top division, conceding a total of 57 goals, and so losing arguably their best defender may punish them dearly.

Newcastle United are building their squad to become a very difficult team to beat and so they should finish in the top 10 at the end of next season. Buying players to replace Nolan, Carroll and possibly Enrique would put the club on the right track. At the moment It is very difficult to see them being in any form of crisis in the 2011/2012 campaign.

James Harris

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