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A Window of Opportunity? - 29/12/2002

A Window of Opportunity?
A worthy investment
   Jaap Stam
   Newcastle United

If there’s a weakness in the Newcastle line up, then I don’t think they’d be many people who would disagree that a strong, experienced, and top quality defender would plug the gap. Jaap Stam’s the man – and although Bobby Robson’s recently stated that 10 million is too much, for me, it’d be a worthy investment.

Granted, it’s a lot of money for player of his age, but on balance, I’d have no hesitation. In my opinion he’d guarantee Newcastle the 4th spot and Champions League football next season. The riches that come with Europe’s elite competition would more than cover the transfer fee – it’ll also go a long way to boosting the image of the club; helping to attract more players and money through sponsors. The club is on a bit of a roll, the impetus needs to be kept up, and Jaap Stam would be just the player to keep things ticking along. Football people around the world would sit up and take notice, and the supporters would love to see a player of his calibre pulling on the black and white stripes.

Let’s face it, he’s not the exactly ancient! Playing at centre back means that he’s probably looking at around any three to five years at the top. That’s more than enough to get a return! Stam’s experience would also be of great benefit to players such as Aaron Hughes, Titus Bramble, Andy O’Brien and Steve Caldwell (if he stays). It’s a dream signing and if it’s at all possible, I’d break the bank to get him!

I’ve heard that Lazio have just secured a 50 million pound bank loan, if that’s the case, then perhaps the need to balance the books has disappeared – who know’s what’s going on in Rome? Looking around the market place, what are the alternatives? Player’s such as Materazzi and Canavaro have been mentioned and then dismissed as being too expensive. Domestically I can’t think of any player who is available and could come in and make the impact that Jaap Stam would? Time will tell, but the expected transfer window may be technically open, but in reality I think we’ll find that it’s only been left ajar. If there’s more than five big signings in the Premiership, then I’ll be surprised! I just hope that atleast one of them involves Newcastle.

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