Yet to find a victory in their opening seven Premier League fixtures, Newcastle’s season is already on the verge of implosion.
Indeed, with fans protesting against Alan Pardew’s management and Mike Ashley’s ownership, pre-existing tensions on Tyneside have only further exacerbated the club’s poor string of results.
Clearly, despite having spent nearly £40million on new signings in the last transfer window, Newcastle’s summer recruitment hasn’t gone as planned. The likes of Remy Cabella and Jack Colback are struggling to impress, and if the Magpies are to get anything out of the current season, they’ll have to strengthen in January.
And just in case the Toon management are short on a few ideas, here’s FIVE signings they could make in the winter window to save their campaign.
The shambolic form of Newcastle’s wingers this season is best epitomised by Gabriel Obertan’s inclusion in the starting XI during a 2-2 draw with Swansea at the weekend, constituting the Frenchman’s first start in the Premier League since March 2013.
Some natural pace and penetration could do the Magpies a world of good; they’ve lacked trusted attacking outlets all season. And in terms of widemen likely available to them in the winter window, Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah is an option to consider.
The Egyptian international only joined the Stamford Bridge ranks in January, after winning the Swiss top flight’s Player of the Year award with FC Basel and netting twice against the Blues in the Champions League. Here’s some of the highlights from his Bebbi tenure:
But the 22 year-old was always purchased as a bit-part player, someone Chelsea could improve in value until selling for profit, and would be more than prepared to let Salah leave – be it permanently or temporarily – in January.
After another transfer window of foreign influx, Alan Pardew needs players that can hit the ground running. Salah meets that requisite, having already proved himself effective in the Premier League with two goals in eleven appearances for the Blues. That includes this strike against Stoke City last season:
Relentlessly quick, no stranger to the scoresheet and desperate for game-time, the youngster could prove to be an astute loan signing for the Toon.
Clearly, Newcastle are in need of some added firepower.
They’ve found the net just seven times this season, giving them the fifth-worst goals conceded column in the Premier League, and four of those goals have been provided by Papiss Cisse, who can’t be depended on for a whole season.
Accordingly, it’s been claimed the Magpies could move for former front-man Andy Carroll in January:
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) September 21, 2014
The 6 foot 4 target man netted 33 goals in 91 appearances during his original Tyneside stay, firing Newcastle out of the Championship and bagging eleven top flight goals before joining Liverpool for an incredible £35million in January 2011. Here’s a look at some of his best strikes for the Toon:
He’s been helping keep West Ham’s nose above water for the last few seasons, but it’s well known that co-owner David Sullivan isn’t a big fan of the England international, dubbing his club’s £15million investment in Carroll ‘a mistake‘ back in July.
The Hammers now have Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho leading the line too, so amid an ACL injury picked up in pre-season, the 25 year-old’s relevance is hastily waning at Upton Park.
An amalgamation of those factors could convince West Ham to sell, and Newcastle are always fond of welcoming prodigal sons back to the club. But with a number of players leaving for the African Cup of Nations in the new year, the East London side may decide to hold onto Carroll until the summer.
Newcastle fans have undoubtedly had enough of Ligue 1 imports but they might be prepared to make an exception for Ghana international Andre Ayew.
The Marseille star has emerged as one of the French top flight’s leading widemen over the last few years, racking up 51 goals and 18 assists in 171 appearances for L’OM. That includes this ‘rabona’ finish against Reims last week:
He also enjoyed strong form at the World Cup, as detailed below:
The 24 year-old isn’t the most conventional wide man but he’s strong defensively, notoriously versatile and as shown in the vide below, is outrageously good at heading for a 5 foot 9 winger:
Most appealingly, Ayew’s been doing the rounds in the tabloids recently because his contract is up at the end of the season and a new deal is looking increasingly unlikely.
That could see him leave Stade Velodrome for a nominal fee. But Ayew constitutes one of the best value-for-money deals of the January window, and there’s already a plethora of competition for his services:
Liverpool news and transfers: Reds to battle with Chelsea for Andre Ayew signature: The Reds could sign another… http://t.co/CKWg8Uy5wp
— Football-News (@Bot_Football) September 26, 2014
Another Marseille star who could be sold in January before his contract expires is front-man Andre Pierre Gignac.
His Ligue 1 career has been patchy to say the least, but at 28 years of age, the striker finally appears to have found his consistency in front of goal. Here’s a look at the Marseille star’s stats over the last few seasons:
And that’s backed up by a sensational start to the current campaign, which has seen Gignac rise to the top of the French top flight’s scoring charts – even trumping Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
Gignac rejected rumours that he’d be leaving the Ligue 1 outfit in the summer, but Marseille will be forced to sell in January if their star forward is still yet to agree new terms.
Here’s a look at the 6 foot 1 striker’s top five goals:
A bizarre suggestion perhaps, considering Everton defender Sylvain Distin is a near-ridiculous 36 years of age.
But Newcastle’s defence has desperately lacked organisation this season and it needs a more composed, reliable figure at the heart of it.
In terms of calmness and consistency, Distin is unquestionably one of the Premier League’s best. He’s amassed 448 appearances in the top flight, throughout spells with Manchester City, Portsmouth and Everton, in addition to a 28-game loan stay with the Magpies way back in 2001.
Here’s a look at the French defender in action:
Furthermore, Distin’s Goodison tenure appears to have run its course. He’s been sidelined with injury over the last few weeks but youngster John Stones has excelled in his absence.
Verging towards retirement age, the Toffees would undoubtedly be prepared to sell if a decent offer arrived in January. And although Distin may not be the long-term solution to Newcastle’s many defensive problems, his quality and experience could be enough to stabilise their season.