Last January, in the midst of a relegation battle, Newcastle United signed five French players to bolster the squad, and steer us away from relegation, which is something that we achieved, thankfully. Surprisingly though, is that, in my opinion, one of the more impressive signings happened to be the one whom I knew nothing about. Massadio Haidara signed from Nancy in January for a fee reported to be around 2 million pounds and looked every bit good value for that price. His impressive début against Kharkiv was followed by a pretty assured Premier League performance at home to Stoke and it looked like Haidara was going to push Santon into earning the left back spot.
However, an injury sustained by the well known horror-tackle from Callum Macmanaman threatened to sideline Haidara for a long time, but thankfully, the Frenchman returned in a matter of weeks before suffering another injury before the end of the season.
Haidara has supposedly suffered a recurrence of the knee injury following “that” challenge but will soon be on the mend, as Newcastle manager told the Shields Gazette,
“Massadio’s training on Monday,” Pardew told the Gazette. “He’s had a terrible pre-season, bless him.
“He’s a young player, and he’s never really had an injury before. It’s been difficult for him.
“But he’s brushed up on his English, and hopefully he’ll put more pressure on Davide.
“Davide’s been brilliant, but it’s about competition.
“Dummett’s breathing down his neck and making him push on. That’s how it should be.”
We agree that competition for places is something that should be prevalent in all areas of Newcastle United’s squad, and with regards to left back, there simply was not enough pressure put on Santon to keep his position. I feel that complacency crept into his game, as it did with many first team players, last season due to a lack of genuine competition.
Hopefully, with Haidara at full fitness, and Dummett forcing his way into contention, we can now see much healthier competition for places in this area at least. Although, whomever claims the 2nd left back spot, I would like to see the other one go out on loan to gain first team experience. Given that Dummett has a season under his belt with St Mirren, perhaps Massadio could be the one farmed out this season.
Whatever decision is taken over his development, we happen to think he is a very good young player who, if he stays fit, has a lot of potential.
What do you think? Can Massadio get back to full fitness and challenge Santon for a starting place? Will his development be better served by going out on loan? Who will win the race for No 2 left back? I’d love to hear your views.
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