It’s fair to say Jonas Gutierrez has experienced all the ups and downs a professional footballer could go through during his last few years on Tynside.
The 31-year-old Argentinean has not only survived a major cancer scare since plying his trade at Newcastle, but he has also helped the Toon successfully stave off relegation with his game ending goal on the final day of the season.
However, in the traditionally controversial style that seems to have defined Mike Ashley’s chairmanship of the club since his takeover, the Newcastle hierarchy have ultimately seen fit to end their current partnership with their cancer-beating relegation saviour this summer, opting against giving the former Argentinean international another contract at St. James’.
Does this nevertheless represent a tough, but necessary, step forward for the Magpies though, or have they simply made a huge mistake in waving good-bye to Jonas Gutierrez in the run up to the new season?
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Well, when all is said and done, it could arguably be contended that Newcastle United lack a certain loyalty in making such a brash decision. Their team has been absolutely decimated of late and the club simply need all the help they can get at the moment.
Be it through a series of unnecessary suspensions for key men, a further collection of ill-fated injury problems to add to list at St. James’ – or just the fact that certain players in John Carver’s team simply failed to pull their weight towards the tail-end of the season – the Magpies ultimately look like a broken outfit at this precarious point in their history, regardless of their eventual last day ‘heroics’.
Jonas Gutierrez however proved to be one of the only Newcastle players to give his all for the team in recent outings. The 31-year-old former Real Mallorca star not only scored and assisted on the final day of the season to keep his side in the Premier League, but he also put in several determined, yet under-stated, shifts for his manager throughout Newcastle’s much publicised eight game losing streak this season.
Whilst he obviously never turned out to be a world beater for the Magpies – his effort should at least be commended, especially when several current members of the Newcastle squad simply haven’t been worthy of wearing the shirt recently. As Jonas Gutierrez was reportedly told his time in the North East had come to an end via a phone call however, such an outcome ultimately hasn’t taken place.
Having made that argument though, this particular discussion could certainly be viewed from a different perspective. Yes, it’s great to look to the future with a romanticised view in mind – but as the weekly tests of Premier League football seemingly have no room for sentiment in the modern era – perhaps Newcastle were left with no choice but to part ways with Jonas this summer.
With everything that’s happened to the South American in the past few months, it’s easy to forget the potential importance of context within all of this. At 31-years-old, Gutierrez is hardly in the peak years of his playing career any more. His stint at St. James’ was arguably even over before the midfielder was diagnosed with testicular cancer last September.
A loan switch to the eventually relegated Norwich City hardly shone his future in the North East in the greatest light in 2013/14, and as the one time Argentina international never really turned out to be the exciting player many of the St. James’ faithful had expected upon his arrival, maybe his time at Newcastle was bound to come to an end sooner or later.
However, this argument will only ring true if Mike Ashley starts sourcing some serious new recruits this summer to aid Newcastle’s journey in the Premier League. As such ambition has rarely been shown from the Tyneside hierarchy however, such an outcome hardly seems like it’s going to happen any time soon.
Especially as Sami Ameobi has somehow earned himself a new contract at the club despite failing to do the business this term, it ultimately seems that Jonas Gutierrez has been left out to dry in this instance – and for someone who pretty much saved the club from relegation on the last day of the season – it’s a decision that does seem a little harsh in all honesty.