JACK Colback will be a key figure – and NOT a squad player – for Alan Pardew’s new-look Newcastle United next season.
The midfielder has joined the club from rivals Sunderland on a free transfer.
Boyhood Newcastle fan Colback signed a long-term contract at St James’s Park to become the club’s second summer signing after striker Ayoze Perez.
United manager Pardew – who is looking to rebuild his squad this summer – is adamant that Colback hasn’t just been signed to make up the numbers.
Pardew feels the 24-year-old’s “inner determination, drive and fight” will prove invaluable to a team which has rarely come from behind to take anything from a game in recent seasons.
“I think he’s an important player,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“One criticism of the team last season was when we went behind – we couldn’t turn that into a winning situation.
“Jack’s the sort of player who’s important when you go behind.
“He has that inner determination, drive and fight in him. He’s always competitive.”
Pardew and managing director Lee Charnley are now focused on signing two strikers to replace Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi.
The club has again been linked with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a target while at Saint-Etienne.
Borussia Dortmund are understood to be willing to sell the 25-year-old less than 12 months after signing him.
However, should the club renew its interest in Aubameyang, they will face competition from AS Roma.
Aubameyang’s representative has been quoted as saying the Gabon international – who started his career at AC Milan – is keen to return to Italy.
Meanwhile, United defender Mathieu Debuchy, at the World Cup with France, has told reporters in Brazil that he “misses” Champions League football.