Wednesday, 5 January 2011

One In, One Out?

Newcastle United have confirmed the permanent signing of French winger Hatem Ben Arfa from Marseille, but the biggest transfer story involving the club revolves around a potential exit.

Twenty-three-year-old Ben Arfa becomes Alan Pardew's first signing since stepping into the role of Newcastle manager but the leg work for this transfer was done long before the current Toon boss came into the frame.

The Frenchman took no time at all to become a Geordie favourite while on loan this season, smashing the winner on his full debut against Everton back in September. The winger suffered a devastating leg break against Manchester City but the Magpies have decided to complete his permanent transfer and fans will be desperate for the exciting youngster's return.

More concerning news emanates form Sky Sports who claim the club have knocked back an approach from Tottenham for eleven-goal top scorer Andy Carroll. There has been no news on potential figures but it is believed that the club have informed Spurs the player is not for sale at any price.

Personally, no amount of money could replace Carroll, who has developed into a talismanic part of the team. And the Newcastle fontline would be much less of a threat without the 21-year-old England striker.

In a lengthy statement last year the Newcastle board set out their stall with regards to transfers, with one of the main points of the document being that Newcastle would not be a selling club. They also stated that they would, when possible, be looking to promote players from within our youth system.

The statement read, "The days when players such as Alan Shearer, Steve Bruce, Peter Beardsley and Michael Carrick had to leave Newcastle to begin their illustrious football careers elsewhere are over. Newcastle United is more than aware of the great passion for the game of football that exists locally and is intent on ensuring that every great Geordie footballer has the opportunity to play for his home team club."

Carroll is one of the few shining lights to have come through our youth system in recent years and if this statement is to be followed I would be surprised and disappointed to see Carroll leave for anything other than a very hefty fee.

That said you just never do know with our club. We've had a reported interest for some time in the out-of-favour Spurs men Robbie Keane and David Bentley, and the North London club may try to tempt us with a player-plus-cash deal.

Even with those two in the mix I'd be reluctant to do any business that resulted in Carroll leaving the club. After Chris Hughton's disgraceful sacking it could just be the last straw for many a Toon fan should our No. 9 move South.

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