Remy's return

Posted by Lee Ryder

Newcastle United's lack of cutting edge in the absence of Loic Remy for the past three games has been obvious for all to see. The team have lacked his craft in the final third, a goal threat, pace and all-around confidence during his suspension for a red card last month at Norwich City.

His clash with Bradley Johnson was hardly the brightest moment of his career. But anybody who has played the game knows that sometimes a player gets lost in the moment -- the red mist descends. And in the moment that Remy flicked his head forward at Carrow Road, there was no way he was thinking about the upcoming Tyne-Wear derby or missing games against Chelsea and Tottenham.

Recent results against Sunderland (0-3), Chelsea (0-3) and Spurs (0-4) demonstrate just what Remy brings to the table. It was little wonder that Newcastle made a desperate plea to the FA to have the ban overturned.

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I expect Remy to be handed his first-team place back against Aston Villa. Alan Pardew will then have a welcome selection headache in his front line.

He will be unlikely to drop Luuk de Jong after promising the big Dutch international a run in the side after joining on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach. Papiss Cisse could well be the fall guy again as his frustrating season continues in the No. 9 shirt.

We are yet to witness what Remy and Cisse can do given an extended run the side. But with Cisse unsettled, you just get the feeling we will continue to wonder. On paper, it's a partnership that could cause damage, but it remains to be seen whether Pardew pairs De Jong and Remy in the next game.

The season is in danger of petering out at St James' Park with the club seemingly marooned in ninth spot. Well clear of relegation, but well clear of the European spots as it stands.

However, the French international has plenty to play for from a personal point of view. His future is undecided and while he may not stay at Newcastle when his loan deal ends in May, he could well be on the move elsewhere.

Should Queens Park Rangers win promotion back to the Premier League, sources at Loftus Road have told me that owner Tony Fernandes will make a big play to persuade Remy to stay at Loftus Road.

Fernandes is the complete opposite of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. He charmed Remy over a game of FIFA 13 to sign for QPR last January and while a big contract would have helped secure his services, he will be eager to sit down with the French striker again.

Newcastle won't get into a bidding war for Remy, and I would be surprised if they coughed up the £16 million for the striker that has been mooted of late. But for the next 12 games, he is a Newcastle player.

With sides like Arsenal and Inter Milan in the chase for the player, there is much for him to play for on a personal note. That might not strike a chord with the Toon Army, but Remy's goals may at least bring some much needed cheer to St James' Park. After all, there isn't much coming from anywhere else.

For Remy, it's not only the prospect of catching the eye of interested clubs though, it's also about going to the World Cup with France. He will have one eye on getting onto Les Bleus squad for a friendly against Netherlands in Paris next month.

Remy was also backed by Thierry Henry, no less, for making it into Didier Deschamps' squad for Brazil. Now he knows he will have to back it up with top-notch performances.

They say that good things don't last forever; Newcastle have to make the most of Remy while he is still theirs. Certainly if he finds the form he produced in the first half of the campaign, things could be looking up for a side who have won just once in nine games.

And while Remy has not committed his future to the club long term, Newcastle fans are probably grateful for small mercies at the moment. They will just be happy to see a good player back who can cause some damage against Aston Villa.


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