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One for now, one for the future – Gosling and Campbell represent good business

Chris Hughton’s additions of Dan Gosling and Sol Campbell to the earlier purchase of James Perch have to be read as positive signs for this club. Both captured on a ‘free’, any money allocated to the Magpies boss should still remain in the pot for when any bigger, more expensive targets are made available.

Gosling is pretty much the hallmark image of Mike Ashley’s recruitment policy. He’s young at 20 years of age, acquired for cheap (or nothing in this case), and most certainly has a sell on value; although fans’ concerns would be eased if it was possible to imagine that he is here for the long run rather than to punch up his worth before shipping him off for a profit (aka the everyday business of Sports Direct).

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - JULY 30:  Dan Gosling #8 of Everton FC controls the ball during their international club friendly match against the Chicago Fire on July 30, 2008 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Fire defeated Everton FC 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

An additional advantage is that he is English. Not only will this sit well with the new Premier League rule which requires a significant quota of homegrown players (within which we already sit comfortably), but for the first time in years we may potentially have a relative interest in the England national team. Not since Shearer, in all honesty, have we had a player who we felt was representing Newcastle United. Woodgate and Dyer may have featured but were used sparingly and any enjoyment we could have had watching them donning the Three Lions shirt was tinged with fear of another injury. And I think I speak on behalf of the majority of the Toon support when I say that we never viewed Michael Owen as representing our club. In Gosling, continued improvement could see this all change.

If Everton are gutted to see him leave, then that can only be a good thing for us. He has been touted as a box-to-box midfielder, possibly in the mould of a certain Rob Lee. Of course, his versatility (he can also operate at full back) will have appealed to Hughton in the same vein as Perch. The only potential downside to this transfer, apart from his long term injury, is the manner in which he left Everton. Apparently offered a verbal contract, it is to be hoped he wasn’t chasing a fat wedge, while his loyalty has to be open to question. Yet the fact he signed for a cash-strapped side means he is probably not on any big contract at St. James’ Park so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and look forward to seeing a promising young player in a black and white shirt for years to come.

Campbell, meanwhile, is on the opposite side of the scale with a one year contract. He most definitely does not fit into Ashley’s blueprint, turning 36 in September, but if he can add to the side the grit and calmness required in our first year back in the Premier League then he could prove to be an invaluable asset. There are no better defenders out there within our budget, and his knowledge and experience is second to none. Surrounded by young defenders, not only will he be a good player to have right now but whatever he can pass on to the likes of Taylor, Perch, Williamson, Kadar and even Coloccini is a massive bonus. He may have lost a yard or two of pace but his positional awareness often gives him the edge over strikers he knows inside out.

Sol Campbell Portsmouth 2008/09 West Bromwich Albion V Portsmouth (1-1) 07/12/08 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

He’s played in every Premier League season since it began and he knows how to do it all. With a sackful of medals and 77 England caps, Campbell will have the respect of the dressing room from the moment he steps in. With Hughton undecided on the club captaincy, maybe his mind will be automatically made up with the ex-Arsenal player’s arrival. In truth, this is a player who should have been signed years ago, from the moment Arsenal decided to let him go and before he joined Portsmouth. But forget that, he’s here now and that’s all that matters.

Who cares if this deal does not consider the long term? This is now, and right now it is imperative that Newcastle United remain in the Premier League. Campbell could go a long way to ensuring this.

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