Graham Carr’s scouting results in inspired signings at Newcastle

With the proceeds from the £35m Andy Carroll transfer swallowed up, coupled with the departures of Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton, it’s safe to say that Newcastle’s summer has not gone according to plan. Or maybe it did, it is likely that Newcastle fans would have been expecting further disappointment, having become accustomed to broken promises and misinformation in recent years. The days of marquee signings like Alan Shearer and Michael Owen may be a thing of the past but when Newcastle have spent money recently, they have made some very shrewd investments.

Mike Ashley is very fortunate that he appointed someone as adept at unearthing gems in the choppy waters of the transfer market as current Head Scout Graham Carr, capable of operating with what is relatively speaking, increasingly meagre means. Carr has 14 years of experience and forged his reputation scouting for David Pleat at Spurs and subsequently alongside Sven Goran Eriksson at both Manchester City and Notts County. His father played for Newcastle and he jumped at the chance to head up a Geordie recruitment drive that has thus far proven to be an unheralded success.

Cheick Tiote has been earning rave reviews since his arrival from FC Twente last summer, with a series of powerful displays, he looks a snip at £3.5m and has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. On the subject of Tiote, Carr provided an insight highlighting the process involved in identifying and monitoring a talented prospect. “With someone like Cheick, it was the result of four years watching him. I’d first seen him playing for Roda against Arsenal in 2006 – they were hammered 4-0 I think, but you could tell he was going to be a good player. He never stopped running.

Carr’s instincts were again used to impressive effect with the signing of Yohan Cabaye from French champions Lille. The French international began the season in charge of set piece duties ahead of Joey Barton, his impressive form should ensure that Barton’s departure does not impact on Newcastle’s impressive start to the new campaign. Injuries have hampered Hatem Ben Arfa’s Newcastle career thus far but he should invigorate Alan Pardew’s side on his return. A peer of Samir Nasri, Ben Arfa impressed in his four outings for Newcastle last season, scoring the winner from distance against Everton before a Nigel de Jong tackle broke his leg, an ankle injury sustained in pre-season is responsible for his current absence.

Demba Ba, released from West Ham due to a relegation clause in his contract, and Sylvain Marveaux, a free agent signed from under the noses of Liverpool, have been brought in and should prove to be solid additions. The highly rated Italian international Davide Santon, a favourite of Jose Mourinho in his time in charge of Inter, has signed a 5-year deal to replace Enrique at left back, with Rob Elliot’s arrival from Charlton providing further competition for Steve Harper and Tim Krul in goal. Federico Macheda could yet link up with former team mate Gabriel Obertan and interest in Sochaux’s Modibo Maiga, who can play wide or up front, may also solidify in the final few hours of the transfer window, as Carr’s hard work behind the scenes continues to bear fruit.

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