Could Blaise Matuidi be the sweetener after Nolan’s departure?

Posted on June 16th, 2011 | 33 Comments |

Blaise Matuidi - Newcastle United target?
Blaise Matuidi (no relation to Cheryl)
Could the sweetener for Kevin Nolan’s departure from Newcastle United come in the shape of Blaise Matuidi?

Well, it was quite a day yesterday wasn’t it? What with the big news that Kevin Nolan is most likely on his way to West Ham, the implications of which I’ll talk about in a later post.

Fortunately a change in medication meant I slept through a lot of yesterday but it was a bit of a shock to the system to wake up and find that our Captain’s off and a Mount Etna of fan opinion has ensued as a result.

There were rumblings in the French press yesterday – before the Nolan news broke – about Newcastle’s potential interest in Blaise Matuidi, a 24 year-old Angolan-French midfielder who currently plays for Saint-Étienne.

Matuidi is apparently a defensive midfielder and ‘deep-lying playmaker’ who has played all his football in France, first for Troyes and then for Saint-Étienne, scoring 7 goals in 209 appearances. He also has three senior caps for France.

The rumblings of Toon interest have intensified today and Saint-Étienne would apparently ‘support’ the idea of Matuidi going to Newcastle rather than to another French club against whom Saint-Étienne would be directly competing next season.

Saint-Étienne actually issued a statement about Matuidi yesterday, which goes something like this (apologies for the disjointed stuff returned by Google Translate):

Contrary to what the daily L’Equipe published in its edition of Tuesday, June 14, the direction of the ASSE would like to confirm that the correct price for Blaise Matuidi is 15 million euros (13 million euros + 2 million bonus farm). The ASSE notes that Blaise Matuidi is the only player of the workforce to benefit from a release.

In addition, club officials have had the unpleasant surprise to hear on the channel Infosport the following message:

“Blaise Matuidi does not know much about the identity of his new club. But it is close to Newcastle. The English track particularly like the President of the Executive, Roland Romeyer, requiring 15 million to address cash flow problems.”

To date, the ASSE has had no contact with the English club and said that its finances are doing well. Indeed, the club has not had to use half the bank loans that it receives.

Finally, the ASSE would recall that on the transfer market, the club management will observe the utmost discretion. Indeed, confidentiality is one of the rules for success in this area.

ASSE is not French for bottom or anything, it just means Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne. That bit in the middle about Newcastle is actually “Mais, il se rapprocherait de Newcastle” and the verb ‘rapprocher’ can either mean to bring closer or to re-approach.

€15m (£13.1m) would blow Ashley’s transfer record but my gut-instinct is that this is one of the bits of transfer speculation that’s likely to be true.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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33 Responses

  1. £13 million for a defensive midfielder?

    Sorry Hugh, can’t see it myself-but Ashley’s trademark is doing things nobody else would (no matter how much it pi55es the rest of us off)so you never know. We need to start spending though and stop selling!!!

  2. How Many defensive CMs do we need, no thank you. we should go for some talented Barcelona B teamers or players that may be surplus to requirements at Madrid. Granero, leon, canales etc.

  3. Are we selling Tiote now then? Surely this is his position in the team. To pay £13 million for an understudy is a bit much. But I agree geordiedan Ashley is likely to do anything he could`nt give a shit about the toon

  4. We’re going to be playing Krul in goal and 10 midfielders. Believe nowt till it’s in Black and White. Literally. HWTL.

  5. Nolan out – cabaye in – money almost equal – wages down from this deal as well as from campbell and kuqi leaving.

    seriously ashley has something in mind.

    pardew must have zero self respect or a cunning plan. i doubt either.

    what are the odds of NUFC making a profit in transfer window.

  6. I dont think this will happen just sounds like fluff to me! We need to invest in attackers and why is all the players we are getting french?

  7. @

    I read that Ashley has opened shops of sports direct in france, so advertising is being done. killing 2 birds with one stone.

  8. Fair enuf
    I reckon we should sell Barton next, his a whinger and will bring team moral down

  9. I can understand having two defensive midfielders but only if the other two players on the wing and two upfront are the type of players with an abundance of skill, trickery and pace to keep the opposition under pressure and on the backfoot. But haven’t we bought Cabaye, who I understand is a box-to-box midfielder, for this role? In addition we have Gosling, Guthrie and for now Barton.

    At the moment we only have Ben Arfa and Jonas who fits the ‘skill, trickery and pace’ mold. Therefore, our priorities should be someone on the right wing and a top notch goal scorer upfront. I suspect Pardew will play a 4-2-3-1 formation.

    I do believe (on the basis of there’s no smoke without fire) that we will be bringing in more players and possibly an expensive one.

  10. 13mill? I very much doubt it. Ashley makes money, he doesnt give it away..

    It is probably a sweetener as in, we’ll sound interested until he goes elsewhere and we’ll say ‘well, we tried’ but actually didnt do much to get him..

  11. Sell off our highest goalscoreres and sp#nk £13m on a defensive midfielder…….. Makes perfect sense to me. Then again, I live in a padded cell and have a penchant for stuffing pickled herring up my anus. Wibble wibble pheeeeep!!!

  12. I Remember,

    on this blog an article titled the selling club or something to that effect.

    HUGH are we a selling club now or not.

  13. There is absolutely no chance that both him and Tiote will be in our squad come August.

  14. Look, there is no evidence to date of any great interest in what the “customers” think nor for that matter the players. Whatever the owner is up to (and plainly Pardew does not know in view of his expressed wishes to keep Carroll, Nolan and Barton)it seems to me that it is a high risk strategy. We have to date lost Campbell, Kuqi, Smith, and Nolan from an already paper thin squad. We will have a new look team which has to blend quickly.
    Not only do we have to replace the exits but we will get nowhere relying on Ameobi, Best and Lovenkrands.
    The loss of Nolan’s influence as a real captain is my main concern right now as well as what his going spells out to the rest of the squad. Is there anyone out there who thinks the £50-60m from sales will be re-invested?

  15. i’m a toon fan and i follow the french league quite a bit, this guy is a great player. i heard someone mention backup? trust me hes much more highly regarded than our boy tiote, id say they would play really well together hes a big tackler and is also very skillful. i agree though that im suspicious about our chances of getting him. i heard last season he said same as gervinho he would only leave for european football?

  16. Indian Magpie @ 12

    So far in this transfer window we have brought in two young French players, one of whom has just won the French league whilst at the same time we have released two pensioners (Campbell and Kuqi) and have sold an aging and noticeably slowing player (Nolan). And I nearly forgot, we did make a £11m bit for another Frenchman but who decided to stay in France.

    All clubs need to sell players, how else would we buy them?

    With the possible exception of Giggs and Scholes, Sir Alex has always been quick to sell players, even at their peak, in order to refresh and stimulate his teams. It’s the method that Liverpool used so successfully over their great years.

    If we are to believe the transfer figures (£2.5m to £4m) for Nolan then we have done very well.

  17. Well Indian magpie we have 35m in the bank from the sale of Carroll is he going to use that or has he gambled it at the casino and needs more from the sales of barton and enrique.

  18. @

    i am not bothered abt Nolan’s departure,

    it is the aftermath i am worried abt

    Enrique – gonzo
    lua – lua
    and other youngsters that were being mentored.

  19. Why all the fuss over Nolan? Sure he was OUR top goal scorer, but he’s not exactly Alan Shearer or Wayne Rooney is he?
    Why is it that the only club who was interested in him was a recently relegated side?
    If we are to move up the table we need to bring in better players. Our current squad is only just good enough to beat the drop. We have some talent in Barton, Enrique, Colo and the keepers, but really who wouldn’t replace the rest?
    The only way Nolan could have stayed, in my mind is if he was willing to be a super sub for someone better.

    It seems people aren’t willing to see the bigger picture here. Like I said before in order to push on we need better players in the team. If we have to sell some of the lesser talented players then so be it. I’m loyal to NUFC not any of the players, just like they aren’t loyal to us.

  20. Headline’s rubbish but the caption under the photo is a worthy of applause. Well played.

  21. The Newcastle hierarchy are not happy at offering long term deals to players who will be in their 30s Newcastle have been down that road ,if we want to kick on and Finnish in the top half of the table, u have to go to the next level of player we desperately need strength power and pace in that midfield im sorry but Ashleys right on this one

  22. Maybe it’s because webleak too many silly goals he’s seeking another dm to break up play and pass it to the four more attacking players


  23. Spot on Tony @ 23

    Nolan in midfield will be replaced by Cabaye or Gosling (with Guthrie on the bench). These two are young mobile players. As a withdrawn striker Nolan will be replaced by Ben Arfa.

    The club has to replenish and reinvigorate and push on with more agile and skillful players.

    Nolan, Smith, Barton and (yes) Harper have all played their part in getting the club back into the premiership and keeping it there but now their job is done and a fresh approach is needed.

  24. Does anyone actually know what this kid is like? I trust our current scouting system. they have brought in some quality cheap players in the last couple of years. Tiote being the main one. Cabaye being the latest. OK 13 mil sound alot but the scum sold Henderson for 20! if he’s worth that i’m worth at least 2, i’m 16 stone! thats the way footy is going! To sum it up. Good signing i reckon. As for nolan going? ok 12 goals? but we a need 25-30 goals a season player. Ba, looks certain. Great bit of business!

  25. I think time will tell whether this is good for NUFC or not. Dont get me wrong i think nolans been a very good servant for the club and has scored some important goals in the last two seasons, and who will ever forget the demolition derby. Nolan has also been a good leader and mentor for the younger players at the club aswell as other senior players. The question is who replaces him? Cabaye looks to me like a very good signing but i do think we will need another quality central midfielder. after chiek, cabaye, joey and gos, who would you have in the middle. Guthrie? Smudge? i dont think so! we need competition and the latter two just dont do it for me at prem level.
    next seasons 11

    jonas—ben arfa—-the zog?

    young attacking midfielder?

  26. I agree with Dave @16. I see quite a bit and let me tell you that matuidi is a very good player.

    While I would like to see him in black and white next season, and I believe he’d be a step forward for us, my worry is that he would strengthen the only area of the team where were already strong enough and I’m also worried that at 13 million he would take up a large chunk (if not all) of the transfer funds, and there are areas where that money is needed much more desperately. If MA is willing to spend 13 million on 1 player, I’d much rather he bought a centre forward with it.

    Matuidi = very good player, money needed more on other areas of the team.

  27. Looks a quality team that matto. Sturridge is growing on me I must admit. Some of his play last night was class

  28. Sturridge is without doubt a quality player, and I’d love to see him here next season, but chelsea won’t be selling him. They’ve said they want at least 20 million for him, so we might as well say we want Messi for all the good it’ll do

  29. Next to Newcastle? erm… sorry for my ignorance but geographically Sunderland is only around 12 miles away which is not overly far. I reckon this could be the scum rather than us. I really can’t see Mikey boy parting with that kind of scratch on an anchor man, when we got a better one in for pennies last year.

  30. Maybe I’m misreading things, but Sunderland is “close to Newcastle”. They just lost loanee Muntari and might have some money to spend esp. if they sell Gyan. That, seems more likely to me.

    We just singed Cabaye. We still have Barton (for now) who could possibly play in the centre more next season (if he stays and we sign a winger). We have Gosling and Guthrie as cover. do we really need another central midfield player? I would like to see a young defensive midfielder brought in to cover Tiote, but not 13.1m pounds worth. That kind of money is better spent strengthening our defense, bringing in a support striker and a quality winger. Enough with the central midfielders already.

  31. “We still have Barton (for now)”

    Not for much longer after his “I’ll only move to a CL club” speech :)