The forgotten man returns

Posted by Marc Duffy

Imagine what Graham Carr and Alan Pardew could do with 16 million pounds? Francisco Jimenez Tejada, or Xisco as we know him, has cost us something close to that in transfer fee and salary since the failed duo of Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez brought him to Newcastle allegedly behind then-manager Kevin Keegan's back in September 2008. The transfer fee of 5.7 million pounds and salary of 50,000 pounds-per-week probably looked reasonable at the time for a 22-year-old with 11 Spain Under-21 caps. Xisco scored three U21 goals in a team containing Javi Martinez and Gerard Pique. However it turned out to be another in the long string of terrible signings made by the football club.

GettyImagesThe lesser-spotted Xisco

The transfer fee makes Xisco the fifth most expensive player in the current squad yet he has made only three starts for us in over four seasons. Xisco didn't get off to the best of starts. Kevin Keegan claims to have had no idea that the Mallorcan was signing for the club. This totally discredited the manager as did the sale of James Milner - KK knew about that one but he also said he had been assured of a replacement midfielder. That signing never materialised. Shortly afterwards Keegan quit the club leaving Xisco in a difficult position - a young Spaniard arriving in a new country discovering that he wasn't wanted by the manager and then having that manager quitting the club because of it.

Days after arriving and Keegan resigning, Xisco scored in the Premier League. Unfortunately for him it was a consolation goal in a 2-1 home defeat to Hull City on a horrendous afternoon of highly charged protests aimed at Ashley and Wise, 'The Cockney Mafia', with the fans venting their frustrations at the Keegan 'enforced' resignation.

All of the above plus a poor injury record have made Xisco's Newcastle career to date nothing short of disastrous. Chris Hughton gave us a brief glimpse of him in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa in 2010 - Xisco came on as a sub and picked up an assist with a ball to Andy Carroll to complete his hat-trick. However not long after that Xisco was sent off in a reserve game and hasn't been seen playing football in England since, until last Monday night.

Xisco has been playing some football though. He went out to Racing Santander on loan in 2009-10 playing 23 times for them. This was followed by two loan spells at Deportivo - nine games at the end of the 2010-11 season and then 16 more last season. Forty-eight games in three injury affected seasons. I assume that these two clubs contributed towards Xisco's salary, but I doubt they'd have paid anywhere near his 50,000 pounds-per-week. This salary is the reason that Newcastle spent the summer trying to offload Xisco. The salary is also the reason they failed.

Xisco is popular with the other players and I actually drafted an article before he turned out as an over-age player in the Under-21 Premier League game at Aston Villa on Monday night (he played 58 minutes in a 2-1 win). The thread of my original draft was that in this season of 50+ games and few playing options, why don't we use him? That question is even more significant now that Haris Vuckic has been ruled out for the season with a cruciate injury. Perhaps Monday night was the start of his return to action and who knows? Maybe he can help pay back some of our significant outlay.

Let me know what you make of the Xisco Kid in the comments box below or on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

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