The last time Anthony Gordon was on Tyneside he almost got into a fight with Newcastle centre-back Fabian Schar, squared up nose-to-nose with captain Kieran Trippier and was jeered throughout by hostile home fans.
It will make his introduction at the training ground this weekend a slightly awkward one, but footballers tend to move on swiftly from on-field scraps and there will probably be some relief the irritant is now on their side. They already knew what a difficult player he was to face.
Some Newcastle supporters will need some time to adjust to the sight of Gordon in black and white stripes once the formalities have been completed this weekend after a deal was agreed yesterday. But having taken exception to his behaviour at Everton, they will not be in the least bit upset if he gets under the skin of opposition teams in future.
Manager Eddie Howe has always liked what he saw. The fact Gordon was not liked by opposition teams just made him all the more appealing. In fact, Howe had approved of Gordon for some time.
Newcastle’s manager had been watching, with ever-increasing interest, as the 21-year-old emerged as one of the key players in Everton’s successful fight against relegation last season.
Rather than a brash, reckless youngster who was winding up his Newcastle players and the crowd, Howe saw a ball of energy that would fit in perfectly to the type of team he is trying to build.
Gordon is quick and direct, with the stamina to go with it. He will run all day, pressing from the front and dropping back to help out in midfield.
But he is also willing to run in behind opposition defences and take on a defender. He can also play across the front three, which would add cover and competition in an area of the pitch that Newcastle needed to strengthen.
Technically, Gordon is already good, but Howe saw how much room for improvement there was.
They needed to sign players who were ready to make an immediate impact, but who had the obvious potential to improve. Gordon ticked both boxes.
According to sources close to the deal, Howe pushed harder than anyone to make Gordon the club’s top transfer target after he had been informed that an offer from Nottingham Forest for Chris Wood was too good to turn down.
Everton initially asked for as much as £60m, which dropped to £50m and eventually to the £40m (€45m) Newcastle agreed yesterday.
It will be fascinating to see if Howe can turn the raw ingredients he loves into something Newcastle fans adore.
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