Monday, May 04, 2009

Legend leaves for Leverkusen

Auf wiedesein Sami. In our defensive foursome, he was absolutely awesome. One Scandinavian defender signs as another leaves. The circle of life is complete. I'm sad to see Sami leave but I understand that he wants a last hurrah. It would have been hard to see him play against us for another premiership team so I wish him all the best in Germany. On the upside, it's great to see Dagger sign up for years. I was convinced that he was leaving in the summer so well done to Rafa and the staff for convincing him his future is here. Between him and Skrtel we're sorted at centre half for many a year. I expect one of San Jose or Martin Kelly will be promoted next season to cover as the fourth choice centre back.

Did this result put Newcastle down? 3-0 could have been 6-0 as we hit the woodwork three times. Xabi struck the crossbar twice with two fierce shots and Gerrard hit it once. Could have been a landslide. Yossi bagged the first with his knee after a cross from Dirk. It may have been marginally offside but any sense of injustice the Toon army had was soon wiped out when Dirk powered in a diving header from a Gerrard corner. Goals from corners always give me a special feeling, rare as they are. Our dominance continued in the second half but we had to wait until late on the for the third goal. Alonso was taken off after Joey Barton was red carded for a bad challenge on the Basque. Lucas came on and scored his first league goal with a close range header from a free kick from the right hand touch line. I'm happy for the Brazilian as he looked thrilled but it now looks like he could leave for £6m this summer according to the red tops.
We're off to Upton Park next weekend. It should be routine with or without Torres who didn't play yesterday. West Ham are quite safe now so don't have much to play for. I hope that we win all of our games to push Utd the whole way. I don't see Utd dropping the requisite points to make it interesting enough but I want to finish a close second with a small gap to the top. This experience of being in a title challenge to the end will do our players the world of good for next season.

The news that Rafa will have to sell to increase his transfer kitty is not unexpected. The BBC reckon Silva, Villa and Glen Johnson are targets. Javier Saviola is being linked with a free transfer in the summer. Gareth Barry has spoken about a summer move. I think he's quite likely to arrive for less than £10m. Given his performance's this year, I hope that it doesn't mean a Xabi departure. Sources in Italy suggest Juve might be back in for him this summer. Rafa says that Javier is going nowhere. What about Pandev of Lazio? He'd be a cheap option for a summer signing. His teammate Zarate has signed a permanent deal with Lazio so we won't be getting him. AZs Moroccan striker Mounir El Hamdaoui is being linked with us and Arsenal. Negredo of Almeria is a target. Rafa says that Yossi will get a new contract offer. If anybody deserves it then he does as he's been amazing in the last 6 months.

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