Vurnon Anita has signed a 5 year deal after a transfer fee of £6.6million had been agreed between NUFC and Ajax. The midfielder, come part-time full back, will wear the number 8 shirt.
Not exactly the signing many would have chosen given first choice, but to see a quality player come through the door finally, is a relief. Especially when you see the amount of fixtures we have at the beginning of the season. Our squad will be stretched slightly almost immediately.
Our priority this pre-season as regards to strengthening the squad were clearly in the full back and striker areas, although Anita 'can also play at full back' he is clearly a midfielder and will play there as much as possible. At first glance it may seem a tad underwhelming to have another midfielder come in after the capable Romain Amafiltano and the rookie Gael Bigirimana to go along with the very impressive Silvain Marveaux who seems like a new signing himself. However, if Anita is assumed to be a first team player than this may be a big moment for our season. Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote are clearly in the first team so to add Vurnon Anita to this impressive duo, could this force Alan Pardew's hand in playing 4-3-3 this season as his Plan A? I for one bloody well hope so!
4-4-2 last season was unwatchable at times and already this pre-season it has left me disillusioned as to what Pard's is even thinking of. It's bollocks. It encourages 'hoof-ball' football and it just isn't good enough if we have any genuine ambition this season. Whereas the 4-3-3, in which Pardew himself introduced, looked very impressive last season. In fact already this pre-season whenever Pardew has brought on a number of subs in games and then gone 4-3-3/4-5-1 from the flat 4-4-2 formation we started with, we look a much better team. It's worrying that Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse don't seem to be able to be an affective partnership we all would dream of, but that could be a blessing in disguise. We have to set our stall out to be a 4-3-3 team along with the rest of the 21st century and stick to it. It works. We have seen it work. So why go back to Neanderthal tactics when it's not necessary or even effective.
Now i'm not saying 4-4-2 doesn't work full stop. There is a time and a place for it. For example when we play some of the big boys and we can expect to be not ahead in the possession stakes. It worked brilliantly against Man Utd last season. There centre back's couldn't handle our front two. Also at Chelsea, we vacated midfield and got the ball up to Cisse and Ba as quickly as possible & Cisse did the rest. Thriker!
Welcome to Newcastle Vurnon Anita. He isn't Debuchy nor Carroll but we will all welcome him with open arms all the same. I for one just hope his presence welcomes the 4-3-3 system most of us crave for to go along with it.