Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies’ US tour ends on a high

Newcastle ended their tour of the States on a high note as they eased to a comfortable victory over Columbus Crew. Goals from Shola Ameobi, captain Fabricio Coloccini and young prodigy Haris Vuckic saw the Magpies run out 3-0 winners over the hosts. Before then it appeared that the pre-season tour had been something of a failure. Three players had failed to travel with the squad due to visa issues, several players picked up injury problems and before Wednesday the team were yet to score a goal. However an improved showing over Columbus ensured the trip across the Atlantic ended on a high note.

One of the major talking points to arise this week was left back Jose Enrique’s decision to go public on his grievances with the club. The Spaniard looks almost certain to leave this summer with a new contract highly unlikely to be signed. Like a number of modern day players Enrique used his Twitter account to criticise the Magpies’ transfer policy. He commented: “The club is allowing all the major players of the team to go. Seriously, do you think it is the fault of the players? Andy (Carroll), Nobby (Kevin Nolan ) etcetera etcetera. This club will never again fight to be among the top six again with this policy.” A number of fans share Enrique’s belief that Newcastle is little more than a selling club, unable to compete among the English elite. Enrique will not be formally punished for his remarks although they could lead to tension in the dressing room.

In a bid to appease some of the disgruntled fans and players, Newcastle is set to step up the pursuit of a new striker. Pardew remains keen on Turkish player Mevlut Erdinic while Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe has also been linked in the media. Erdinic is out of favour at big spending PSG who have bolstered their attacking options in recent weeks. However, the player is not believed to be keen on joining Newcastle and would prefer to remain in France. When asked about the chances of brining in another forward Pardew said: “After the Andy Carroll thing I am not going to use the word promise, it is a dangerous word. However, I am confident we will get a striker in.” So far Newcastle’s current crop of strikers is yet to really fire in pre-season.

In terms of outgoings, Nile Ranger and Wayne Routledge are both edging towards the exit door. The pair has both been in the Netherlands with the development squad to work on their match fitness. Routledge is still in talks with Swansea over a move to Wales and the deal could be concluded shortly. Ranger continues to attract interest mainly from Championship clubs and a reunion with former manager Chris Hughton at Birmingham City is on the cards. Hughton has played a big role in Ranger’s career development and he could join either permanently or on loan.

Newcastle’s next game following the conclusion of their US tour is away at Leeds United on Sunday. The game should allow Pardew to focus more on his team for the coming season with the likes of Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye and Mike Williamson set to join the rest of the first team squad. Hatem Ben Arfa remains sidelined and may be doubtful for the start of the new Premier League season.

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