Newcastle boost Europa League hopes with Dutch international
Newcastle’s lack of strength in depth was apparent towards the end of last season and so the imminent arrival of Vernon Anita should be beneficial ahead of the current campaign, particularly regarding their Europa League aspirations.
The Magpies are 28/1 to be the first English winners of the Europa League since 2001 and the 23-year-old – who can operate at left-back, as well as in his preferred position holding the midfield – has experienced continental competitions through his achievements at former club, Ajax.
With players of similar foreign pedigree continually linked with a move to Tyneside – Mathieu Debuchy, to name one – further additions could render that price very generous.
A lack of strength in depth proved costly for the Toon in 2011/12 as their surge for the top four was derailed by defensive injuries and inadequate replacements.
Utility-men of Anita’s ilk, therefore, seem the logical solution for Newcastle as they attempt to avoid a repeat of last season’s shortcomings.
Also, having collected consecutive Eredivisie winners’ medals in the past two seasons, Anita has lifted the Dutch cup three times in his Ajax career which suggests he brings a much sought-after winning mentality to the table along with his versatility.
On top of this, January will see Newcastle lose midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote to the thorn in many a Premier League manager’s side – the African Cup of Nations – and Pardew will be regarding combative Anita as the ideal candidate to step into the tough-tackling void.
The Dutch international’s more immediate responsibilities, however, could be to fill in at left-back due to Davide Santon’s lack of fitness and Pardew’s unwillingness to employ Ryan Taylor out of position.
One hole, then, is on the verge of being plugged with reports that a £6.2million fee has been agreed between the two clubs; Anita’s move to the Sports Direct Arena is surely a formality.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.