Newcastle's clever scouting has them on sound footing

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Club have long been making plans in case key players moved on

When Yohan Cabaye moved to St James' in the summer, eyebrows were raised. Cabaye, a France international, was not expected to leave Lilles, who had just completed a first League and Cup Double since 1954, for as little as £4.3m. Newcastle, however, had become aware of a clause in his contract that could be activated if an offer of €4m was tabled. The player was scouted for a season, the price was met and Cabaye, then 25, signed in June 2011. His market value is now at least double that.

Cabaye ticked a set of boxes that are becoming the hallmark of Newcastle signings; he was available at a competitive price, he was 25 or under and his value, after numerous scouting trips, was predicted to rise.

Newcastle proudly unveiled their financial figures for the year 2010-11 12 days ago. A club that was paying out £6.5m each year in interest on its debt five years ago recorded an operating loss before player trading of just £3.9m. (Profit after player trading was £32.6m, as a result of the sale of Andy Carroll.)

The age of austerity at St James' Park had begun long before football was given a collective jolt from the news that Rangers had gone into administration.

The signing of Demba Ba was last week voted the best of the season by the League Managers' Association. Ba moved to Newcastle for nothing in the summer and his value, after scoring 15 Premier League goals this season, would be around the £20m mark were it not for the clause in his own contract that allows a possible move at around £7m. Hatem Ben Arfa was taken on loan in the summer of 2010 before his move was made permanent, for around £5m. He was 23 and had been tracked by Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, his reputation perhaps discouraging those clubs from making a move before Newcastle did. Again, his value since returning from a double leg break, has risen.

Newcastle swooped for Sylvain Marveaux when a deal to Liverpool for the French winger fell through. The Under-21 international was available for nothing. His Newcastle career was beginning to flourish before a serious groin injury. Romain Amalfitano is a 22-year-old at Reims who will move to St James' in the summer as part of a concerted recruitment policy, led by the highly-regarded Graham Carr, who has recently watched the AZ Alkmaar midfielder Adam Maher.

That leads to Cheick Tioté and Tim Krul, two players now coveted by Chelsea, who have the kind of financial might that Liverpool showed in their pursuit of Carroll, eventually landing the forward for a figure of £35m, a figure which looks more impressive from the seller's perspective with each week.

Newcastle have been scouting replacements for Tioté since last summer. That is not to say there is a desire to sell, but the growing sense of reality inside the club means there will be a price at which he will be allowed to leave, as Derek Llambias, Newcastle's managing director, recently admitted.

"Tioté has been with us a year and a half," he said. "He is out there. People know he's a good player. He's proven in the Premier League, he's not picking up as many yellow cards, he's learning. How are we going to stop a big club from coming in for him? It'll be very hard. One thing in our favour is that we now have a very good side and that might encourage the player to stay but if someone knocks on the door and says they want this or that player, the reality may be that we have to trade. We'll be losing one or two names this summer, but that'll be regenerated back into the squad."

There is a growing acceptance of Newcastle's transfer policy in the North-east. Losing Krul or Tioté will be a blow, and there will be speculation about Ba in light of the clause that allows the Senegalese forward to leave for what constitutes a bargain.

But Newcastle's financial and league position are the healthiest they have been in a very long time, and the former will continue to determine what manager Alan Pardew has to work with.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam