State of Play: Newcastle

Goal looks at how Alan Pardew's side are shaping up ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, with plenty of new signings having arrived at St James' Park during the summer window
It's been a busy summer of ins and outs at Newcastle as Alan Pardew attempts to put together a side capable of improving on last season's 10th-placed finish.

With the north east outfit having enjoyed a productive pre-season on the pitch, including an impressive 3-1 win over Schalke, Goal assesses how they're shaping up ahead of their opening fixture of the Premier League season on Sunday.

It's been a summer of overhaul at St. James' Park, with no less than nine deals having been done and the club having spent in excess of £30 million as Pardew looks to fine-tune his squad for the new season.

Attacking midfielder Remy Cabella was brought in from Montpellier in a deal worth a reported £9m and he could provide the creative spark that Newcastle have been missing since Yohan Cabaye's departure to Paris Saint-Germain in January.

Netherlands international Daryl Janmaat, who impressed in a wing-back role as the Dutch finished third at World Cup 2014, is another stand-out signing and arrives from Feyenoord as a direct replacement for Mathieu Debuchy following his switch to Arsenal.

A COUP FOR NEWCASTLE | Janmaat's 2013-14 Eredivisie stats for Feyenoord

Another Dutchman, Siem De Jong, has been brought in from Ajax and can be utilised in an attacking midfield or forward position, while 20-year-old Ayoze Perez is something of an unknown quantity and could be a useful loan acquisition following his switch from Tenerife.

Pardew has made the signing of French players something of a trend over the past few seasons and joining Cabella in arriving on Tyneside from Ligue 1 is Emmanuel Riviere, a striker who scored 10 league goals for Monaco last season.

Another forward, Facundo Ferreyra, has been brought in on a loan deal from Shakhtar Donetsk while Jack Colback angered Sunderland after swapping the Black Cats for their north east rivals and his boyhood club on a free transfer in the summer.

Deals have also been agreed for Nottingham Forest duo Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow, although they will both remain with the Championship club for the 2014-15 campaign.

The headline sale of Newcastle's summer was Debuchy's exit to Arsenal, with the France defender having proven himself as one of the Premier League's most reliable full-backs since signing from Lille in 2013.

Loic Remy, who scored 14 goals while on loan with Pardew's side last term, has gone back to parent club QPR and another striker, Shola Ameobi, has also been allowed to leave for Turkish club Gaziantep Buyuksehir Belediyespor.

Once tipped as a star for the future, Dan Gosling is another to have been let go, with the former Everton midfielder joining Bournemouth on a free transfer following his release from St. James' Park.

Squad player Sylvain Marveaux has also left on loan to French club Guingamp, while promising striker Adam Campbell has joined Fleetwood Town on loan and the likes of James Tavernier, to Wigan Atlhetic, and Romain Amalfitano, to Dijon, have also quit the club.

Newcastle fans have reason to feel optimistic looking at their squad list for the 2014-15 season, with plenty of decent summer signings and many of the club's top performers from last season staying put.

The loss of Debuchy and conclusion of Remy's loan spell will have hurt although Janmaat is a solid replacement at right-back and Goal understands that Newcastle have not given up hope of bringing back France international striker Remy before the window shuts.

Alexandre Lacazette is another top target for Pardew's side, along with Lorient forward Vincent Aboubakar, as the Magpies boss looks for a striker capable of hitting the 15-goal mark in the upcoming campaign.

That's not say that Newcastle don't have options in attack. New signings De Jong and Cabella could be deployed in forward roles while Papiss Cisse and Yoan Gouffran are further options, along with loan arrival Ayoze Perez and youngster Sammy Ameobi.

The likes of Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini have stayed put to provide a solid foundation at the back, while Cheikh Tiote is impressive in the holding role and Moussa Sissoko will look to build on his tally of three goals and six assists from last term.

Cabella, meanwhile, could well be the difference maker for his side after his signing from Montpellier and if Pardew manages get anywhere near the best out of Hatem Ben Arfa, it could be a promising campaign for the north east outfit.

With Yohan Cabaye having departed there is an opening for a Newcastle player to step up and be the club's stand-out star. Moussa Sissoko can be that man.

The 24-year-old is entering his second full season in England and after an impressive World Cup that saw him feature four times for France in their run to the quarter-finals, he will be expected to play a key role in the 2014-15 campaign.

While Toon fans will be hoping the likes of Cabella and De Jong will make their mark, they may well take time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and their new surroundings having spent their careers thus far in France and the Netherlands respectively.

With Tiote likely to miss at least the first game of the season, Sissoko may well be asked to perform more defensive duties than normal but he is undoutedly at his best when he is given the freedom to bomb forward and support attacks.

The signing of Colback, however, could see Sissoko pushed further forward into more of an attacking midfield role, especially when Tiote is back to full fitness, and that could well bring the best out of the former Toulouse star.


Pardew grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons last season - his clash with David Meyler that saw him headbutt the Hull City midfielder was both astonishing and outrageous and proved to be one of the big talking points of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Newcastle boss was, it's fair to say, incredibly fortunate to stay in the job after such a moment of madness and he, more so than anyone else at the club, will be out to prove himself and attempt to repair his reputation in the upcoming season.

With many supporters still to be convinced by their manager, to say the least, the first couple of months of the new campaign, which begins with a home fixture against Manchester City before 'winnable' games against the likes of Crystal Palace, Hull and Stoke City, will likely be crucial if Pardew is to keep the fans, and board, on-side.

Any further misdemeanours such as the Meyler headbutt will not be tolerated but while Mike Ashley has stuck by the 53-year-old, he may have no choice but to pull the trigger should things not go to plan on the pitch at the start of the new season after a summer of investment.

A GOOD 2014-15 WOULD BE...

(From William Hill)
Title 1000/1
Top four 66/1
Relegation 9/1
The days of Newcastle United challenging for the title are long gone but that's not to say that they can't mix it up with the Premier League's big-guns and a Europa League spot, at least, should be the aim.

Despite the likes of Cabaye, Debuchy and Remy having left, there have been improvements to the playing staff over the summer and Newcastle possess a squad that should be capable of improving on their 10th-placed finish from last season.

Pardew will be under constant scrutiny, though, and that could well have a negative effect on his side's fortunes, where keeping the fans on-side will be imperative - and a strong start will certainly help.

The Toon Army have been starved of silverware for far too long and a good cup run, be it in the League Cup or FA Cup, would be most welcome on Tyneside and may just be the ticket if Pardew is to win the supporters over.

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