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World Cup Watch – Newcastle must watch man filling Falcao’s shoes

| 29.05.2014

With Alan Pardew clinging to his Newcastle job for another summer, it’s imperative that the grey-haired head thruster recruits wisely during the off season to ensure he’s not one of the first managers handed his P45 next term.

The World Cup provides the former West Ham man with a perfect opportunity to scout for cavalry in some key areas, and we’ve given him a helping hand with three potential Brazil-bound acquisitions.

Teofilo Gutierrez – Colombia – Striker

Colombia’s £50m man is still far from certain to lead their line at the World Cup, as he continues to recover from a knee injury suffered in January.

Should his bid for fitness fail, then River Plate’s Gutierrez could well be the man to deputise, having scored six goals for his nation during the qualifiers and a 4/1 shot to lead their charts in Brazil.

Loic Remy won’t be signing at Newcastle permanently and Shola Ameobi has been released, leaving the Magpies with just Papiss Cisse up front next season.

Granit Xhaka – Switzerland – Midfielder

Yohan Cabaye’s Paris Saint-Germain switch in January left Pardew without a midfield pass-master for the second half of the season.

21-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka led the Swiss with three assists from central midfield during qualifying and made the most passes per game on average than any of his Bundesliga teammates this season.

Divok Origi – Belgium – Winger

First-choice wingers aren’t of a necessity for Pardew, with Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran all battling it out for the two starting spots.

Beyond those three though, Newcastle are light on options with Gabriel Obertan an undoubted top-flight flop.

Lille’s 19-year-old wide man could well be used as a rotation option for Newcastle should he impress at Brazil, with his five goals from 12 starts in France a decent return last season.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.