Alan Pardew’s insistence that Newcastle plan to sign a replacement for departed £19m midfielder Yohan Cabaye this summer will hardly have had delighted Geordies rushing to the St James’ Park turnstiles to renew their season tickets.
The Magpies travel to Southampton next time out in the Premier League, needing at least a draw at 5/2 to stop the 3/4 hosts swapping places with them in the table.
Newcastle have nothing to play for during the rest of this campaign, with survival long secured and ten points between Pardew’s side and Tottenham in sixth-place, which looks likely to yield a Europa League spot next term after Manchester City’s Capital One Cup win.
It seems their 52-year-old gaffer is using his well earned seven-match rest/ban to steal a march on other managers ahead of the summer, but after three dreadful transfer windows in a row it’s difficult to imagine chief scout Graham Carr rediscovering his touch any time soon.
The Pardew-Carr axis paid off handsomely during the Wimbledon native’s first 18 months at the club, with Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba proving huge hits as Newcastle stormed to a fifth-place Premier League finish – ahead of Chelsea – in 2011/12.
However, the wheels came off their transfer bandwagon after scaling those heights, with central-midfielders Vurnon Anita and Gael Bigirimana – who have largely flopped on Tyneside – and young centre-half Curtis Good the only summer 2012 signings the club paid money for.
After picking up just 20 points from the first 20 games of the 2012/13 campaign, Newcastle moved to right their silly season of wrongs by moving for five French players at a combined cost of over £18m.
Of that quintet, only right-back Mathieu Debuchy can be called an unqualified success, with one of the five – Massadio Haidara – yet to make a Premier League start this term.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko has followed up a brace against Chelsea on his home debut with just four more goals in 51 games since, while striker Yoann Gouffran scored the last of his ten for the club back in December, eleven appearances ago.
There’s as many syllables in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s moniker as Newcastle clean-sheets this term with the centre-half in the side, but despite the travails of this Les Bleus job lot the St James’ Park powers that be continue to channel hop in hope of finding ‘the new Cabaye’.
Montpellier attacking-midfielder Remy Cabella has long been lined up by the Geordies for a Tyneside switch, but with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United also linked with the 24-year-old – who would cost north of £15m – it’s hard to see Pardew landing his top target.
With their only success of the 2013 summer transfer market – striker Loic Remy – all but certain to pack his bags once his season-long loan from QPR ends, the Toon Army look all set for another tragic transfer window.