With Graham Carr leaving Newcastle United after seven years, we look through all his signings for us.
Cheick Tiote was Graham Carr's first ever signing for us and will mainly be remembered for his wonder strike to complete a historic comeback against Arsenal in February 2011. The Ivorian played a key part alongside Yohan Cabaye in our fifth place finish in 2011-12 and during his six and a half years at the club, had two fantastic strikes at the Leazes End disallowed against Man City in January 2014 and West Brom in February 2016. Despite some excellent games towards the end of the 2015-16 season, it wasn't enough to help us survive relegation and Tiote didn't play during pre season. However, he did make three appearances in all competitions in 2016-17 before moving to Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, where he sadly collapsed and died in June 2017
Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa joined on loan from Marseille in August 2010 and on his first start, scored a fantastic strike in a 1-0 win at Everton but two weeks later, the Frenchman's season was ended thanks to a horror tackle by Man City's Nigel De Jong. He was signed permanently in January 2011 and returned to action in a pre season friendly at Darlington before suffering another injury against Sporting Kansas City in the team's pre season tour of the USA. His first goal of the 2011-12 season came in a 2-0 win at Bolton on Boxing Day before scoring probably our best ever FA Cup goal against Blackburn (a goal which was nominated for the 2012 Puskas Award). He won the Match of The Day Goal of the Month award in April after running from his own half to score against Bolton at St James' Park. Despite our poor 2012-13 campaign, Hatem still shined and won the September 2012 Goal of the Month award for his stunning equaliser against Aston Villa before an injury in December meant his next start would come against West Ham on 4 May but he scored a penalty in a 2-1 win at QPR in our penultimate game eight days later. Despite a good start to the 2013-14 season, Ben Arfa's final Newcastle goal came from the penalty spot in a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on 21 December and he was loaned out to Hull in September 2014 to the dismay of many fans and was released after returning from his loan on Humberside after falling out with Tigers manager Steve Bruce.
After helping Lille to their first Ligue 1 title since 1954, Yohan Cabaye was instrumental alongside Cheick Tiote as we finished 5th in the 2011-12 campaign. This included a superb free kick in a 3-0 hammering of reigning champions Man Utd, an amazing assist for Papiss Cisse in a 3-0 win over Stoke in a game which saw the Frenchman also score twice. But after suffering an injury against West Ham in November 2012, Cabaye wouldn't play for another two months but on his return, netted a fantastic free kick against Reading before a stunning strike in a 2-1 win at Aston Villa in our next game. He scored another free kick against Stoke in March as we came from behind to win 2-1. After we rejected a £10m bid from Arsenal shortly before our first game of the 2013-14 season at Man City, Cabaye refused to play in that game or against West Ham in our second game but came off the bench against Fulham in our third game before starting against Aston Villa in our fourth game, he netted from twenty-five yards in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in October and scored the goal to seal our first win at Old Trafford since 1972. But his last kick in a Magpies shirt was a free kick to wrap up a 3-1 win at West Ham in January 2014 and shortly afterwards, he was sold to PSG for £27m.
Following West Ham's relegation in May 2011, Carr managed to trigger a release clause in Demba Ba's contract, which allowed the Senegalese striker to leave for free. His first three goals all came in a 3-1 win against Blackburn at St James' Park in September whilst he also hit a treble in another 3-1 away to Stoke the following month. After returning from the African Nations Cup, he scored on his return against Aston Villa and celebrated with Senegal teammate Papiss Cisse, who'd signed just before their AFCON campaign and would score the winner, this was his final goal of the season as he was moved out wide with Cisse taking over as the main goalscorer. He scored a fantastic curling effort in a 2-1 win against Tottenham on the opening day of the 2012-13 season and won us a lot of points during a poor first half of the season before Chelsea triggered a £7m release clause in January 2013.
Having rejected a move to Liverpool just before joining us a day after Ba signed, Sylvain Marveaux failed to forfill his potential on Tyneside. He didn't make his league debut until November 2011 when he suffered a groin injury against Everton and only made seven league appearances in his first season at St James' Park. His best season came the following season as he scored his first Magpies goal against Maritimo in November before netting his only Premier League goal in a thrilling 7-3 loss at Arsenal in December before setting up another goal later in the game. The Frenchman also set up Papiss Cisse for consecutive last minute home winners against Stoke and Anzhi Makhachkala in March 2013 but injuries limited him to nine league appearances in 2013-14 and he was loaned out to Guingamp for the 2014-15 season. He made appearances for the reserve side in 2015-16 and even made a surprise return to the bench against Man Utd in January but was released along with Gabriel Obertan in May 2016 and joined Lorient two months later.
Gabriel Obertan failed to impress for Man Utd and disappointed for most of his time on Tyneside. But in 2014-15, his best spell came when he was brought into the side with new signing Remy Cabella struggling out wide and nearly got an assist as a substitute for Jack Colback against Stoke before assisting Papiss Cisse against Swansea five days later. He scored a fantastic goal to seal our first league win of the season against Leicester and impressed in a Capital One Cup fourth round win at Man City before an injury against Liverpool ruled him out until February. But after only making six appearances in 2015-16, he was released along with Sylvain Marveaux in May 2016.
Papiss Cisse signed shortly before heading to the African Nations Cup with Senegal in January 2012 and after coming on for his debut in place of the injured Leon Best against Aston Villa he celebrated with Senegal teammate Demba Ba after he opened the scoring before he score the winner. He would finish the season with an incredible thirteen goals in fourteen games, including the Goal of the Season against Chelsea but afterwards, he only scored thirty-one times in one hundred and seventeen games and was sold onto Chinese club Shandong Luneng in July 2016, where he revealed a fantastic message Cheick Tiote after scoring shortly after the Ivorian's death in June 2017.
After his contract expired at Reims, Romain Amalfitano joined in the summer of 2012 but only played five competitive games, all of which were in our Europa League campaign before being loaned to Dijon in September 2013. He joined the Ligue 2 side permanently the following summer.
After winning the Eredivise with Ajax, Vurnon Anita was signed two days before the start of the 2012-13 season and his first goal was a spectacular volley against Club Brugge in the Europa League in November 2012. Despite being brought in as a defensive midfielder, Anita performed better as a right back during his five years on Tyneside which was evident when he improved after being played there more often under Rafa Benitez before being released as his contract expired in June 2017.
Mathieu Debuchy was linked with us for a while and was the first of five players to join us in January 2013. Despite not producing his best form between signing and the end of the 2012-13 season, the France international impressed during the 2013-14 season and was even linked with a move to Bayern Munich. Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman moved to Arsenal for £12m in July 2014.
Following a 2-1 home loss against Reading which left us sixteenth in the league in January 2013, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was the first of four French players signed in one week. His best display in a Magpies shirt came in a 0-0 draw away to Anzhi Makhachkala in March 2013 and despite some poor displays in 3-2 losses against Hull and Everton in September 2013 and a red card against Liverpool shortly afterwards, he impressed as we kept clean sheets in consecutive victories over Chelsea and Tottenham in November. However, he gave away a needless penalty in a 3-0 loss against Chelsea later in the season and despite scoring against Sydney in July 2014 during a pre season trip to New Zealand, he fell out with Alan Pardew and was loaned out to Roma in on transfer deadline day and joined the Italians permanently in January 2015.
With only six months left before his Bordeaux contract expired, Yoan Gouffran joined us for just £500,000 and got an assist for Moussa Sissoko in a 3-2 win over Chelsea in his home debut before scoring his first Magpies goal against Tottenham a week later and scored away to West Brom and QPR over the remainder of the season. His first goal at St James' Park was an amazing strike in a Capital One Cup third round tie against Leeds and a header in a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Tyneside in November was the start of a run of five successive home games where he got on the scoresheet (the last player to achieve this was Alan Shearer in 1997) but he didn't score again until goals in successive games against Southampton and Hull in January 2015 as he had an awful 2014-15 season and only made eight league appearances in 2015-16 but he improved under Rafa Benitez in the Championship following relegation and scored fantastic goals against Derby and Wolves in September 2016 and against Birmingham in January 2017. He's been offered a new contract and despite the improvements, I feel like he's found his level in the Championship.
Massadio Haidara made his debut against Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League in February 2013 but his career may well have been ruined by a horror tackle by Wigan's Callum McManaman the following month and has only played fifty games in four and a half years for us having received numerous injuries.
After becoming the fifth and final player to join us in January 2013, Moussa Sissoko got an assist for Papiss Cisse in a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on his debut before two goals in an amazing display in his home debut as we beat Chelsea 3-2. His only other over the rest of the season was an equaliser in a 4-2 win against Southampton. His first goal of the 2013-14 season was a twenty five yard strike to clinch a 2-1 win over West Brom in November before he scored a double in a 4-1 win at Hull in March. After a disappointing start to the 2014-15 season, Sissoko's solo goal wrapped up a memorable 2-0 Capital One Cup fourth round win at Man City before captaining the side against QPR when Fabricio Coloccini got injured and scoring the only goal of the game but despite a good first half of the season, his form dipped in the second half but he scored in a crucial 2-0 win over West Ham on the final day, which sealed our survival. However, he continued to struggle in the 2015-16 season and was booed off when he was substituted against Bournemouth in March, he scored his only goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Swansea on 16 April but played a big part in our relegation and left for Tottenham for £30m on transfer deadline day.
Loic Remy was the only senior player signed during the summer of 2013 and was brought in on loan from relegated QPR. He scored fourteen goals in twenty-six league games in his only season on Tyneside and without him, we'd have been relegated, this was evident in the games when he wasn't played. After his loan spell, the Frenchman signed for Chelsea.
Siem De Jong
Siem De Jong had just captained Ajax to a fourth successive Eredivisie title when he arrived in July 2014 and would score twice in pre season but after only three competitive appearances, the Dutchman was ruled out for five months before a collapsed lung meant he didn't play again until 25 April when he came off the bench to score a consolation goal in a 3-2 loss against Swansea. He scored again against Northampton in the Capital One Cup second round four months later and started making more appearances until suffering a freak accident in training in January meaning he wouldn't play again until 14 March. De Jong was sent out on loan to PSV for the 2016-17 season and played nineteen games in all competitions. At the time of writing, he's still on our books.
I thought Remy Cabella was going to be a good signing but despite the £10m price tag, he only got one goal and two assists in the 2014-15 season and gave the ball away so often. He was loaned out to Marseille as part of the deal which saw Florian Thauvin signed and joined the French outfit permanently the following summer.
One of the worst strikers ever to wear a Magpies shirt, Emmanuel Riviere scored just three goals in thirty-one games in two years before being loaned out to Osasuna on transfer deadline day in August 2016 where he got zero goals and one red card as the Spanish side were relegated from La Liga. The Frenchman hasn't appeared for us since Steve McClaren's final game in charge in March 2016 and if I remember correctly, wasn't even given a run out in pre season.
Despite his goal record for Shakhter Donetsk and playing in the three friendlies between arriving and the opening day of the season, Facundo Ferreyra struggling to cope with the demands of English football and failed to make a single first team appearance before inevitably returning to Ukraine at the end of his loan spell on Tyneside. The only time we named in our squad was for a Capital One Cup second round tie at Gillingham.
Karl Darlow was brought on from Nottingham Forest in August 2014 before being loaned back to the Championship side for the season. Despite an error which cost us an undeserved point at West Brom in December 2015, he recovered when he returned to the side following an injury to Rob Elliot in March 2016 and had superb games against Norwich and Man City in April before saving a penalty from our former midfielder Yohan Cabaye as we beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St James' Park. He returned to the side after Matz Sels made a poor start after signing from Gent in June and saved two questionable penalties on his return to the City Ground but he has also made errors that have led to us conceding goals against Brentford, Norwich, Bristol City and Ipswich whilst a lack of communication with Ciaran Clark cost us victory against QPR but he's also won us points with his goalkeeping skills.
Like his Forest teammate Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles was signed in August 2014 before being loaned back to the Championship side for the season. He made his Premier League debut in a 6-1 drubbing at Man City in October 2015 and looked poor under Steve McClaren but has improved massively under Rafa Benitez, keeping Kevin De Bruyne in his back pocket as we held Man City to a 1-1 draw in April 2016, shortly after speaking out against the under-performing players in our squad after a 3-1 loss at Southampton ten days earlier. He was named captain in August 2016 following Fabricio Coloccini's departure the previous month and has been way more of a leader during his time on Tyneside than Coloccini during his final two years with us. He had some poor games in 2016-17, in particular against QPR and Ipswich during the second half of the season. Shortly after promotion was sealed, it was revealed that he'd been playing through pain and would undergo a hernia operation. This had showed that he'd put the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Daryl Janmaat to shame even further and he's twenty-two so will only get better, especially under Rafa.
Fans were excited by Georginio Wijnaldum's arrival from PSV for £15m in July 2015 and I tipped him to be player of the season. The first half of the season saw him score seven times, including four against Norwich but he disappeared after new year and after scoring against West Ham on 16 January, he failed to find the net until he netted a brace on the final day against Tottenham, by which time we were already relegated meaning he failed to score a single away goal and I was pleased to see him leave for Liverpool, especially for £25m (he's still yet to score away from home for them either).
When Aleksandar Mitrovic joined from Anderlecht, he had hopes of replicated club legend Alan Shearer but he was booked within two minutes in both his first two games and after a good game in a goalless draw at Man Utd, he was sent off against Arsenal. He looked a lot better when he returned against Chelsea and score his first two Magpies goals in the next two games against Man City and Norwich before coming off the bench to get a goal and an assist as we came from behind to win 2-1 at Tottenham in December. Although he missed a lot of chances in his debut season, he scored nine goals and even assisted, scored and was sent off in the 5-1 final day win over Tottenham. Although he scored three goals in his first two Championship starts and bagged a double in the 6-0 demolition of Preston in the EFL Cup fourth round, he struggled in the second half, missing a penalty in the FA Cup humiliation at Oxford and only scored six goals in all competitions last season.
Chancel Mbemba also joined from Anderlecht and has been one of Carr's good buys. He stuck with us following relegation but after scoring an own goal against Wolves shortly before getting injured, he struggled to get in the side thanks to Ciaran Clark's fantastic form but ended the season well with good displays against Burton and Leeds before scoring his first Magpies goal against Barnsley on the final day. Although the Congo international is mainly a centre-back, he can play right-back and impressed there in a 0-0 draw at Man Utd in August 2015.
The signing of Florian Thauvin from Marseille showed how inept Graham Carr has been in recent years. He rejected us in January 2013 whilst at Bastia before moving to Lille, where he refused to play to force through a move to Marseille. He was signed for a similar price to what West Ham paid for his Marseille teammate Dmitri Payet despite being named in L'Equipe's worst Ligue 1 team of the season for 2014-15. Whilst Payet shined in East London, Thauvin had a good impact as a substitute against Man Utd on his debut, nearly setting up a winner for Papiss Cisse before scoring one and setting up three against Northampton in the Capital One Cup second round but only made three Premier League starts before being sent back to Marseille on loan for the remainder of the season. Despite scoring against Bohemian in pre season, he was back on loan to the French club for the 2016-17 season and has made a permanent move there.
In January 2016, Henri Saivet was initially signed as a replacement for Cheick Tiote, who was set to move to China but he only made four appearances as Tiote's move fell through and the Ivorian came back into the side. He was sent out on loan to St Etienne in August by Rafa Benitez, who's yet to play the Senegal international since arriving in March 2016. He criticised the club for having a preference towards English players shortly after moving to the Parisian outfit and struggled last season so hopefully he gets sold on this summer.
Graham Carr's final ever signing was only given three brief substitute appearances after arriving on loan from Roma in February 2016. He came close to saving us an undeserved point at Stoke in March and in Steve McClaren's final game in charge three days later, he must have felt worthless having to watch the useless Emmanuel Riviere up front on his own in the first half as we were beaten 3-1 at home by Bournemouth. He secured a permanent move to Basel at the start of last season but I feel had he played more, he could've saved us from relegation.