Friday, June 8, 2007

Mark Viduka, Joey Barton to Newcastle; Ben Haim as well?

Updating the previous post, Mark Viduka has signed a 2-year contract to play for Newcastle with an option for a third year. He becomes the fourth notable striker on Tyneside (along with Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, and Shola Ameobi) and in my mind has to be either second or third in the pecking order there.

A deal for Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton is in the works as well and only an "admininstrative hitch" is holding the official transfer up. Barton is out of favor with the Blues and has agreed to an $11 million US switch and change of scenery. When his mind is right, the 24-year old can be a dynamic player and would be an immediate upgrade for the Magpies. He has plenty of talent but struggles to restrain his temper and his mouth, spouting off to teammates, opponents, and the media alike. If Sam Allardyce can rein Barton in, he will be getting a young player who can make a significant impact for his team.

Sam Allardyce's former Bolton defender Tal Ben Haim is also rumored to join Newcastle. He is out-of-contract with the Wanderers and the Israeli center back has drawn furious interest from Allardyce. At just 25 years of age Ben Haim still hasn't entered his prime as a player yet but has already made 88 Premier League appearances and would immediately be inserted into Newcastle's rather weak back line.
For the complete story regarding these three players, see

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