Joe Kinnear

PSG, Newcastle agree fee for Cabaye; What does it mean for Geordies?

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It’s a brilliant bit of business that will leave many a Geordie sick to their stomach.

Yohan Cabaye, the midfield magician who’s engineered many moments for Magpies supporters, is leaving Newcastle United after a reported 19-20 million pound bid was lodged by French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

The now 28-year-old arrived at St. James Park to replace departed captain Kevin Nolan in 2011 for 4.3 million pounds from Lille, and to gain almost five times that fee in addition to the 18 goals and 15 assists he provided is pretty solid work from the Newcastle higher-ups. And Cabaye had his head turned by a 10 million pound bid from Arsenal this summer and later admitted readily to missing Champions League football.

But what will go back into the club, one led back into Europe by Cabaye in a brilliant 2011-12 campaign and at least tempting its fans European imaginations with wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham this season?

And small picture: how will Newcastle’s current side react for today’s fixture with Norwich City? Different situation, but this summer’s Cabaye turmoil watched them get smoked 4-0 at the Etihad to open the season while the French star’s status was in Gunners doubt.

Owner Mike Ashley is hard to read and director of football Joe Kinnear has had trouble even pronouncing his players names — calling Cabaye ‘Yohan Kebab’ in an interview — not to mention remembering which ones he’s brought to SJP. In fact, Kinnear and manager Alan Pardew had to backtrack to talking up last January’s moves for Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko when this August landed them only a loan deal for Loic Remy (though many would likely say that’s fair considering the quality of such a group).

And as Remy allegedly won’t sign a full transfer because of what may await him this summer, Newcastle supporters are left to wonder whether they have the people in charge to take the next step. It appears long-sought transfer Luuk de Jong may be in town for a medical, but he’s struggled to find form at new club Borussia Mönchengladbach and it looks to be a loan move as well. Does this mean more than a half-hour of match time for mercurial-yet-magnificent Hatem Ben Arfa?

There will be a new No. 4 at Newcastle United at some point soon, and he’ll have a lot to do to live up to the standards set by Cabaye and Nolan, (and perhaps Nobby Solano before them). And perhaps Cabaye will join Demba Ba and Andy Carroll as those to net outrageous fees and then struggle away from the club that boosted their reputations — and again, perhaps not — but supporters will continue to ask whether another elite player will ever be priceless at St. James Park. Would Alan Shearer have enjoyed a 10-year-run in the Northeast had the current buyers, and sellers, been in place?

Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mata, Salah, Muntari and one last stop for Eto’o

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Samuel Eto’o scored a bunch of goals the other day in Chelsea’s rout of Manchester United, but the 32-year-old striker was talking about Spain just one day later. Eto’o, who scored 108 goals in 145 matches for Barcelona, is being encouraged by his son to return to one of his other former La Liga homes. Will Eto’o finish his career at Real Mallorca?

Gary Lineker has a way with words, and as rumors continue to swirl regarding Juan Mata’s potential move from Chelsea to Manchester United, the English pundit says the move adds plenty of optimism for attractive football from David Moyes struggling and injured side.

Modibo Maiga was a hot commodity before arriving at Upton Park, with Newcastle one of the teams “missing out” on the Malian with a decent strike record in France. With just three goals in 31 Premier League appearances for West Ham, Big Sam Allardyce is ready to move on from the disappointing transfer. Turkey’s the rumored destination.

AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is only 29 years old. Don’t know about you, but it kinda surprised us he wasn’t older. The former teen star with Udinese is being rumored as on the move to Hull City to join the Tigers. After picking up two striking threats in Nikita Jelavic and Shane Long, Steve Bruce is looking for more of an enforcer type.

The Yohan Cabaye story lingers in the Newcastle press and Magpies supporters are surely hoping the resolution waits for the summer. Newcastle’s dynamic midfielder has been mentioned for an exit for ages and this January’s mostly been PSG as the destination. As the Northeast club may have reached an agreement to ply Remy Cabella from Montpellier in the summer, Cabaye uses the phrase “Champions League” like its going out of style.

Montpellier is now said to want a Hatem Ben Arfa loan move through the end of the season in order to get Cabella immediately. NUFC supporters can hope he leads the Magpies into Europe, fulfilling both sides desires, and that director of football Joe Kinnear isn’t lying when he says, ” “I will not let any player leave Newcastle United in this transfer window.”

Speaking of Newcastle, they’ve entered the fray for Basel star Mohamed Salah according to Sky Sports. In December it seemed the “Egyptian Messi” was all but Liverpool’s, but as time moves on more teams are getting the Salah itch.

Julio Cesar isn’t seeing time for QPR (!!) as Rob Green has played well, and the 34-year-old is pretty much gone from Loftus Road, admits QPR chairman Tony Fernandes. The player casually mentioned Sardinia and Cagliari as options, as the 77-times capped Brazilian wants playing time before his homeland’s World Cup.

Tough week for Newcastle ends with Shearer’s iconic sign torn down

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What a terrible week it’s been for Newcastle supporters.

On Sunday owner Mike Ashley makes the highly controversial decision of hiring Joe Kinnear as Director of Football. Kinnear, who managed the club for a brief stint in 2009 but was forced to abandon his post after being rushed to hospital with heart problems, is the figure who specialized in ‘long ball’ and many believe led to the club’s relegation.

In the midst of public outcry, Kinnear decided to give an interview to Talksport on Monday in which he embarrased himself by making ridiculous and untrue claims while botching the names of numerous figures in the club.

Among his soundbites, the 66 year old claimed responsibility for signing Tim Krul (he was recruited by Graeme Souness) and James Perch (he was bought by Chris Hughton), called Newcastle’s managing director, Derek Llambias, “Derek Llambezee,” claimed Llambias had resigned as “director of football” (that was not his position and at that point in time, had not resigned) and also referred to Shola Ameobi as “Shola Amenobee”, Yohan Cabaye as “Yohan Kebab” and Hatem Ben Arfa “Hatem Ben Afre”.

By Wednesday, Llambias handed in his resignation, which was widely understood to be a direct consequence of Ashley’s decision to appoint Kinnear. Llambias, who is credited for bringing the likes of Fabricio Coloccini and Jonás Guttiérez to the club, kept it classy in his exit, graciously thanking the club staff and supporters while not mentioning Kinnear.

Many feared that Alan Pardew, who signed an eight year contract with the club last fall, would be the next in line to show himself to the gallows but Pards refused, saying “I am staying to take the club up the league.”

The situation was enough for Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who ripped the club for hiring Kinnear:

Right now people are laughing at the club I support and that sickens me. I promised myself years ago to never be surprised by anything which happens in football, particularly when it came to Newcastle. But this situation really is stretching it a bit.

Newcastle have a manager who has just been totally undermined. I’m sure it will be a difficult situation. It’s no way to treat a man who 12 months ago was manager of the year after guiding Newcastle to fifth place. He is in such an intolerable position.

What are the players to think when Joe Kinnear can’t even get their names right. It’s all a PR disaster. Mike Ashley just keeps on making too many decisions which alienate the Newcastle fans. They deserve better, much better.

Just after Shearer made the comments, the club sent a wrecking crew to tear down the iconic “Shearer’s” sign at the entrance to the St James’ Park bar named after the striker. The move incensed supporters and a club official was quick to note that the sign change was “purely coincidence,” and that the decision to revamp the bar and change the name to “Nine” (Shearer’s number) had been made long ago.

It’s sad to see a club be tortured by such a difficult week of news especially since the effects could be devastating. Current players – especially those who Kinnear botched in his radio interview – will feel alienated and may be more inclined to seek a transfer (Cabaye and Ben Arfa have been the subject of rumors) while potential transfers into the club – Joleon Lescott, Eder, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Loic Remy – could look elsewhere for their future home.

Joe Kinnear is named Newcastle’s director of football – Newcastle fans up in arms

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Joe Kinnear is back at Newcastle, this time as the club’s director of football.

The 66 year old former manager of the Magpies signed a three year deal that will see him oversee the club’s style of football and handle player recruitment and transfers. Amidst supporters’ fears that he may be inching in to replace Mike Ashley, Kinnear has insisted that he will be working with Ashley and not taking his place.

Kinnear managed Newcastle during the 2008-09 season but left the position after suffering a heart attack. But Kinnear insists that he’s healthy and ready to go now. “I am as fit as a fiddle now,” Kinnear said. “I am in the best physical shape that I have ever been and I have been waiting for the opportunity.”

Many Newcastle supporters are up in arms over the hiring, believing that the man they called ‘Mr. Long Ball’ was one of the worst Newcastle managers of all time, having put the club in a horrible position that led to their relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Fortunately, this time around Kinnear insists his role will be limited to player scouting. Explaining that he has “a bright head,”  Kinnear believes that he can bring in the right players to make Newcastle a successful side. Kinnear explained:

What I can offer is that I believe that I am a very good judge of players, I believe that I am a good tactician and I believe that anything to do with football I have been involved in; I’ve worked with the best, I have been with the best and I intend to make Newcastle far better than they are now.

Anticipating the fears of supporters, Kinnear also made clear that he has “no other agenda” and that “if I see players at the club right now and I believe they are not good enough to be at Newcastle then I intend to move them on.”

It will be interesting to see whether Kinnear supports the French Revolution at Newcastle or whether he looks to rebuild the club around the type of players that epitomize his affinity for the hoof-it game that he imposed during his first tenure at St. James’ Park.