July 24, 2006

Damien Duff to Newcastle: A Closer Examination

Posted in English Premier League, Football (soccer), UEFA Cup at 7:05 pm by deadlymusings

Damien Duff completed his move to St. James’ Park for a £5 million fee. Chelsea took a significant loss on a man they paid Blackburn £17 million for three years ago and they also rejected more lucrative advances from Spurs and Liverpool. The reason is simple, while Duff would have aided other clubs because he can play on both wings at an extremely high level, Newcastle needed help at other positions.

Newcastle has Emre, who was named one of the greatest 125 living players in 2004, can play on the left wing. At the same time, Geordie favorite Nolberto Solano is the man on the other wing. So the addition of Duff may make for greater attacking play, which is something the Newcastle fans have always liked, but they haven’t improved the end product in the slightest.

With the retirement of Alan Shearer, the Magpies are left with only two strikers on the books. Albert Luque looked promising in the two matches against Lillestrom in the Intertoto Cup, but the Spanish striker has looked disinterested at times. Shola Ameobi is the other man looking to score goals, but his strike rate of one in six Premiership appearances in his career is heskey-esque.

At the back, Newcastle appears to be continuing with comedy duo Titus Bramble and Jean-Alain Boumsong. So the £5 million could have probably been used to improve this area a bit instead. In the end, its hard to complain about picking a player of Duff’s skill for such a cheap fee.

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