Alan Pardew and Newcastle have struck early in the transfer market with the purchase of 22-year-old Frenchman Romain Amalfitano.
The attacking midfielder will officially join the Magpies on 1 July and is said to be replacing Danny Guthrie who is poised to join Aston Villa.
Newcastle’s success this season owes much to the impact of summer signings Yohan Cabaye and Senegalese sensation Papiss Cissé, and they hope they have struck gold again with the acquisition of the young starlet.
Amalfitano spent last year at Reims in the French second tier guiding them to a top-two finish and promotion to Ligue 1.
And with the extra demands of the Europa League to deal with next season, Pardew hopes adding such talent to his squad will help give him some strength in depth.
However doubts have been cast over the future of Demba Ba who as of yet has not agreed to contract renegotiations to remove his £7m minimum fee release clause.
This means that when the transfer window opens up he will be free to talk to any club that can match that offer, with Manchester United and Tottenham both keen.
This will not be the end of Newcastle’s shopping however as they look to build on their most successful campaign for many years.
It appears Claudio Ranieri has some unfinished business in the Premier League and it would be good to see the Tinkerman back in English football if rumours of a switch to West Bromich Albion are to be believed.
The Italian was the first victim of Roman Abramovich’s reign at Chelsea and is still held in very high regard at Stamford Bridge – and if the Baggies can secure his services, it would be an end to their boing-boing days.
Ranieri was, and still is a quality manager, a more than adequate replacement for new England boss Roy Hodgson, and alongside Ray Wilkins they could form a very successful partnership.
Hodgson did a sterling job securing West Brom a top ten berth last season, but if Ranieri takes over at the Hawthorns don’t be surprised if they make a surprise challenge for Europe much like Newcastle United did.
Alan Curbishley, Mick McCarthy and Steve Bruce may have handed their cvs to chairman Jeremy Peace, but he would be wise to forgo the usual dross and think outside the box.
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