This time last year, few would have predicted the success Newcastle United have enjoyed over the past 12 months. Following the sale of Andy Carroll, the man who helped the club gain promotion to the Premier League, and played a big part in maintaining their status for another year, it wouldn’t have been unfair to predict that the Magpies would suffer from a bout of the seemingly-ubiquitous second season syndrome. Instead, manager Alan Pardew invested the £35million received for Carroll in a number of players who improved the squad immeasurably. The additions of Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cissé, along with strong, consistent performances from Fabricio Collocini and Hatem Ben Arfa thrust Newcastle up the table, culminating in an incredible 5th place finish, qualifying for the Europa League and only missing out on Champions League football by a hair’s breadth on the final day.
Despite a revelatory season, there are of course areas to improve and the Toon have been strongly linked with French full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who impressed at Euro 2012 in June. But is the 27-year-old, currently plying his trade with Lille in Ligue 1, the best option for Pardew on the current market? I’ve compiled a small list of alternative right-backs that Newcastle may look at, purely for your delectation.
Having been released by Chelsea at the end of last season, the Portuguese international is a free agent which may be a crucial factor for a club that, in recent months at least, has prided itself on getting value for money; quality players at an affordable price. Or no price whatsoever in this instance. But that’s not strictly true as Bosingwa will inevitably command a hefty salary and a large signing-on fee often appears in ‘free’ transfers. Question marks will linger as regards to whether Newcastle can, or will be willing to break their wage structure to accommodate a player a club that finished below them in the league deemed not good enough. On the flipside, they could be attaining a two-time Champions League winner; one who boasts 24 international caps and consequently oozes experience. Many remain doubtful as regards to his defensive discipline, but there’s no doubt Bosingwa is a fine asset to have in an offensive sense. If a deal can be agreed, it would certainly represent a significant step forward for Newcastle.
Portuguese international Bosingwa is a free agent which may be a crucial factor for a club that, in recent months at least, has prided itself on getting value for money; quality players at an affordable price.
Swansea City’s Spanish fullback impressed in the Championship but there were doubts over whether he would cope with the notorious intensity of the Premier League. Rangel took to it like the proverbial duck to water, seamlessly adapting to the rigours of top-flight football as the Welsh side surprised everyone with their attractive brand of tiki-taka, that, perhaps hyperbolically, saw them compared to Barcelona. What many forget about Swansea’s remarkable debut season however is their defensive record, as they kept an impressive 14 clean sheets, second only to Fulham in 2002 for the most for a newly-promoted side. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm and centre-half Steven Caulker have rightly taken plenty of plaudits but Rangel has been just as crucial a cog in the Swansea City machine. However, with the threat of the aforementioned second-season curse hanging over Liberty Stadium, particularly following the departure of manager Brendan Rodgers, the 29-year-old may see this summer as the perfect opportunity to jump ship, and get a chance of playing in Europe where many believe his talent belongs. The asking price would be reasonable, and in return, Newcastle would be getting a consistent performer that has proven his ability to slot in quickly to a new side.
Gregory van der Wiel
After a shocking campaign with the Netherlands at Euro 2012, van der Wiel’s stock has fallen ever so slightly having been exceptionally high over the last couple of years. The Ajax full-back has consistently caught the eye of Europe’s elite but a deal has never materialised. The price tag wouldn’t be astronomical which will suit Pardew and Mike Ashley and with 35 international caps, including a World Cup final appearance under his belt, he’s already got the necessary experience, thus ticking another box on the manager’s checklist. However, disastrous performances in the summer have created a slight air of scepticism as regards to whether van der Wiel is indeed the real deal. But at 24, with the potential to get much better, he would surely be worth the gamble and could pay off as a shrewd investment.
The asking price for Angel would be reasonable, and in return, Newcastle would be getting a consistent performer that has proven his ability to slot in quickly to a new side.
Something of an unrealistic option, Piszczek is one of the finest right-backs in Europe and if, and that’s a major if, Pardew opts to make an audacious bid it would be quite the coup. Piszczek was another that caught the eye at the European Championsips, on the back of consecutive Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund. The Germans champions would certainly not want to sell, particularly having already lost Shinji Kagawa this summer, and the player would be considered foolish to leave a side competing at the highest level, with the potential to improve further. Lest we forget, however, that Newcastle’s very own Yohan Cabaye joined after winning the French title with Lille, such is the allure of the Premier League. It almost certainly won’t happen, but if it does, it would be a real statement of intent, and a signing that will take the club to another level.
There would undoubtedly be some who would argue that Newcastle’s existing first-choice right-back had a fine season and would be more than welcome in the starting line-up against Tottenham on August 18. In May, however, the former Manchester United player rejected a new deal and Pardew announced that he would listen to offers for the 25-year-old. Similarly to the Robin van Persie saga at Arsenal, the longer it goes on without a new destination being found, the more likely it seems that Simpson will start the new campaign as a Newcastle player. He has certainly proved his credentials over the last 12 months and would undoubtedly still perform when called upon.
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