The writing has been firmly scrawled on the walls at St James’ Park for some time now. It’s just a matter of when not if Jose Enrique will leave Newcastle United for pastures new. The Spaniard has continually refused to sign a new contract with his current deal ending next summer. He’s also decided to criticize the club on twitter, which can only be a ploy to hasten his move away from Tyneside. It looks like he’s off to Liverpool but if a transfer doesn’t materialise will he be welcomed back with open arms?
In his four years at the club he has improved dramatically as a footballer and matured into one of the best left backs in the country. Trying to hold onto him has been a chore although you can’t knock him for being ambitious. It’s no lie when I say that it will be a long time before Newcastle United win a trophy again, that’s a cold hard fact. Enrique craves silver wear and if he didn’t I’d think he were as unambitious as our current owner. He wants to perform at the very top and he certainly has the ability to do so.
It’s common knowledge that he’s repeatedly spurned the advances of the club as they try to convince him his future lies on Tyneside. However I do believe there is a way back for Enrique solely due to his status as a favourite with the Geordie faithful. As I’ve said his performances have been marvellous over the last few years not to mention he stuck with the club after the disastrous relegation season. A year in the Championship was the making of the man affectionately known as ‘The Bull’.
He coped superbly with the tougher climate of England’s second league and turned it up a notch last season on our return to the Premier League. His form and general love for the club endeared him and fans took him to their hearts. They now see him is one of their own. I’ve no doubt that if he went round to a fans house and asked for his clothes to be washed the matriarch would simply suggest he put them in the laundry basket with the others.
The fans adore players who play well, love the club and show commitment when things threaten to go South. Even his twitter rants last week have been excused because what he said connected with the thoughts that are already flowing from those in and around St James’ Park. Even the management can’t fault his comments even if it was foolish to air them over a social network notorious for igniting trouble with footballers. They know he is the best left back we’ve had since the days of John Beresford and they can’t hold him back if he wants to play at a club challenging for honours. We’re simply not competing at the level that Enrique strives to be at. Both the fans and management understand that.
Personally I wouldn’t have him back simply because of his desire to force a move away from the club. I like Jose and I think he’s a fantastic footballer but the fact that he held off negotiations for months and didn’t bother to inform the club of his desire to leave was wrong. Even on the pitch his form stunk of a man who’s passion for the club was waning rapidly. Gone were the lung bursting bolts up the left replaced with frigid meanders that barely penetrated half way. Moving him on as soon as possible and bringing in a replacement that wants to play for the club should be on Alan Pardew, Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley’s mind.
There is no doubt that the fans would welcome back Enrique forgetting about his rants on twitter and determination to leave the club that gave him his chance in the Premier League in the process. Whether he’ll be staying is another issue. I firmly believe he’ll be trotting down the Anfield left wing come the first whistle of the new Premier League season.