Newcastle United must clear out the dead wood in their squad before the start of the upcoming Premier League campaign if they're to re-establish themselves as a top-ten side.
Perennial underachievers Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Gabriel Obertan, and French flops Emmanuel Riviere and Sylvain Marveaux have often been the targets of fan criticism in recent seasons, and currently fill squad places that could be better served elsewhere.
Leaden-footed centre-back Williamson, although proficient in the air and a committed player, similarly doesn't meet the standards required for a modern day Premier League centre half. His distribution from the back was one of the sources pinpointed as contributing to Newcastle's dreadful season.
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The same can be said for the much maligned Obertan, who has pace to burn and not much else; three goals in 69 appearances and only a handful of assists is all the Frenchman has to show after four troubled years on Tyneside. Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to ship the 26-year-old should have been a clear-cut sign for Newcastle's talent spotters to steer clear, but such is their attitude to tap into cheap potential that Newcastle paid the asking price, a fee that is yet to be lived up to.
Anita, one of five Dutchmen in the squad, is another of the club's flops that must be moved on. An industrious worker in the centre of the park, he former Ajax man has the occasional good game but his height - a mere 5ft 5in - and weakness in the tackle as a defensive midfield player means he is surplus to requirements if Newcastle are serious about challenging for the top ten.
Riviere, perhaps the best of a bad bunch, is like Obertan - unquestionably quick and with the physique to suggest he could cut it in England's top division. Yet his finishing is at best ordinary, having scored just one goal - a scuffed effort against an already-relegated QPR - in 24 Premier League appearances.
His all round hold up play offers promise, though Magpies manager Steve McClaren may well deem him surplus to requirements given the recent acquisition of Aleksander Mitrovic from Anderlecht, placing him behind the young Serb in a competitive forward line of Papiss Cisse, the fleet-footed Ayoze Perez, who was one of the few bright sparks in a dismal campaign, and Siem de Jong, often utilised as a support striker at previous club Ajax.
Countryman Sylvain Marveaux has also allegedly been told to find a new club by McClaren. Although talented, the enigmatic winger too often flits in an out of games, which ultimately lead to the 29-year-old being loaned out for the entirety of the last campaign. Like Obertan, suspicions remain about his work rate and commitment to the cause.
McClaren has so far enjoyed a successful summer of transfers, though despite this, the former England manager must clear out surplus players who offer little more than ineffective stop gaps, attempting to plug holes in a weak squad. Newcastle United are a club in transition under a new coaching staff and seemingly rejuvenated owner but their success in terms of incoming transfers needs to be matched by moving on their sub-standard players.
Out with the old guard and in with the new.
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