Thursday, September 01, 2005

A winger and a prayer

After the signing of Michael Owen, a less trumpeted arrival. Or should that be more trumpeted?

The frantic final day of transfer activity concluded with "everyone's favourite Peruvian trumpeter" Nobby Solano rejoining the club from Aston Villa. We've reimbursed Villa the £1.5m they paid for Solano in January last year, and kindly allowed them to take James Milner on loan for the season - though if they're hoping for him to produce crosses of the same order as Nobby they're going to be in for a nasty surprise...

The deal might make us look rather foolish - after all, it's essentially an admission that we made a mistake in letting Solano go. But that's just what it was - a horrible mistake, possibly Sir Bobby's worst decision whilst at the helm. We had no-one lined up to replace him and we got just £1.5m in return.

Personally I'm delighted we've swallowed our pride and got him back, albeit now the wrong side of 30. He enjoyed a good season last year, ending up as Villa's top marksman (not that great an achievement in a shot-shy side, admittedly), but what matters the most is that we now have a pair of wingers (with Luque on the left flank) capable of supplying Messrs Shearer and Owen with the ammunition they need to put teams to the sword. Souness said last year that playing with wingers is old-fashioned - is the move an admission of error on his part too, perchance?

As for Nobby himself, in the words of David O'Blarney: "He sees what Newcastle are doing with Michael Owen and the size of the club and he wants to be a part of that. He says he wants to go to a 'bigger' club" (you can leave out the inverted commas there, Dave). He never wanted to leave in the first place and so must be delighted to renew acquaintance with some familiar faces. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off, creating and scoring goals - once he's served the remainder of his ban for elbowing Portsmouth's Richard Hughes while still clad in the claret and blue of the Villains, that is.


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