Santon commits to Newcastle and hopes France full-back Debuchy will join

Newcastle defender Davide Santon insists he will not be leaving the club to return to Serie A, and is hopeful that they can sign Lille defender Mathieu Debuchy.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a good first season in the Premier League after joining from Inter, making 27 appearances as the Magpies defied expectations and only narrowly missed out on the Champions League.

Santon has been linked to a move back to Italy with Roma being touted as a potential destination, but the Italian full-back says he has only just arrived in England and feels it is too soon to pack up and leave.

He told “I know Roma are looking for a right-back and they showed interest in me some time ago, but Newcastle immediately refused to give me up.

“That’s okay for me because I have familiarised myself in England and I have no plans to move. I’ve only been here for a year and it is too early to pack up and come back to Italy.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle themselves have been linked with Lille and France right-back Mathieu Debuchy.

However Santon, who can play on either side, says he doesn’t feel threatened by Debuchy’s potential arrival.

“Debuchy to Newcastle? I am calm,” Santon said.

“Pardew had told me that he had thought about playing me on the right, but also that another right-back would come.

“Debuchy or whoever, is welcome, especially if it is a good player who can help the team. Then, we’ll see who the coach decides to pick.”

Italy can reach the final at World Cup 2014 … and here is how


The manner in which the adventure ended will take some getting over. Italy left Kiev in the early hours of Monday morning without the Henri Delaunay trophy amongst their carry-on luggage, having been handed a good old-fashioned spanking by the irrepressible Spain.

But once the initial regrets are washed away in a few days time, Cesare Prandelli and the FIGC will be able to see their side’s Euro 2012 campaign for what it was always meant to be – the first step on the road back to the top. After the disgrace of their early exit from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, this finals tournament has been nothing short of a miracle, giving real reason for optimism ahead of their next tilt at the Mondiali.

The negatives need to be learnt from and then immediately consigned to history. The positives are what need to be remembered and embraced, because there have been plenty. And if the right things are done to harness the newly-regained faith of the Azzurri faithful, then preparation for the trip to Bulgaria in September must begin almost immediately. Because that is the attitude that saw them exceed expectations this time around, and it will also be key if they are to be present in Rio de Janeiro in 741 days time.

First and foremost, if the tricolore is to be one of the flags on display on the Maracana pitch before kick-off on World Cup final night, Prandelli needs to stay in charge. His recent admission that he misses the day-to-day aspect of club coaching has put the frighteners up Italy fans, but if there is one positive to be taken from the 4-0 defeat to La Roja in Kiev, it is the sense of unfinished business. If teams give their very best and fall short, sometimes you have to admit you have done all you can, but the commissario tecnico will surely feel that he can learn from the events of Sunday night, which marked his first competitive defeat as an international coach, and complete the job he signed up for two years ago.

Prandelli & Balotelli | The two main keys behind Italy’s push for 2014 glory

Within his squad, there will inevitably be some changes, despite the firm footing on which they have placed themselves over the past month. Looking beyond the turnover on the fringes of the panel, there will need to be some sacrifices in and around the first team too.

One thing that definitely should not change from the current set-up is the main focus up front. Mario Balotelli is the future of Calcio, and his importance to Italy over the coming years must not be underestimated. Antonio Cassano may well remain in the set-up, but if Giuseppe Rossi can make a sufficient return from his double knee injury nightmare, then he could well be the perfect second headache for opposition defences.

The next 24 months will also be huge for Sebastian Giovinco. If he can make his transfer back to Juventus a success, then a regular national shirt will surely follow. Stephan El Shaarawy could well become a reliable squad member too.

In goal, injury permitting, Gianluigi Buffon will remain. Emiliano Viviano is likely to force his way beyond Salvatore Sirigu and Morgan De Sanctis to grab the understudy slot, but it would take a phenomenal run for him to get even close to deposing the Azzurri skipper.

In front of Buffon there is a lot to ponder. Ignazio Abate has not quite proven himself as an international quality defender yet, and will hopefully face a strong challenge from Davide Santon for the right-back role in the coming months and years. Cristian Maggio may still serve some purpose as a wing-back, but he too has been restricted by his lack of defensive ability.

On the other flank, Federico Balzaretti will be 32 be the time the opening game in Sao Paulo takes place, meaning his body’s ability to cope with the passage of time will have a big say on whether he can still step up to the mark come 2014. Domenico Criscito will surely re-enter the equation as first choice just so long as he is proven innocent of any wrong-doing with regards to the Calcioscommesse enquiries.

Centrally, Leonardo Bonucci has to go. His inability to spot and foil danger, even when superbly placed to do so, is lethal at the top of the international game, with just such a lapse handing Jordi Alba the killer second goal against Spain. Andrea Barzagli has not been a consistently excellent centre-half, but his form since signing for Juventus suggests he could well still be a mainstay come 2014, although it is likely to be his final tournament.

Giorgio Chiellini will return to the centre-back spot he fills so much more convincingly than the left-back role, while Angelo Ogbonna should be knocking on the door by then. Other candidates to monitor will include Marco Capuano of Pescara, Bari’s Alessandro Crescenzi and Rubin Kazan’s Salvatore Bocchetti.

In the engine room, much will depend on Andrea Pirlo. The regista has been the national team’s heartbeat in recent times, but as he turns 35 just before the World Cup, Italy may have to come to terms with a less influential Pirlo. Of all of the options available should the Juventus man suffer a drop in form or fitness, Marco Verratti seems the best prepared to step up. The Pescara man was even called up by Prandelli in his original 32-man squad for the Euros, suggesting he is laying the groundwork for a gradual promotion to the big stage.

Beyond that, not too many changes should be needed. There may become a time when a serious question needs to be asked in the Claudio Marchisio versus Antonio Nocerino debate, but the AC Milan man needs to continue his great form at domestic level.

Ahead of them, Italy desperately needs a trequartista. Not Thiago Motta, not Riccardo Montolivo, but an actual trequartista. Neither have the tools necessary to change the course of a game, which is the key ingredient necessary from a true Italian No.10. There is a huge dearth of talent in this department, with Diego Fabbrini and Lorenzo Insigne – the best creative players to come through the Under-21 ranks of late – having often been shunted to the left for the Azzurrini.

Insigne should be nursed through in a similar fashion to Verratti, giving him every possible opportunity to make a smooth transition to the senior side, with Fabbrini a back-up if his game time at Udinese increases sufficiently over the next two years.

All in all, Prandelli has plenty to ponder, but also more than enough to keep him smiling. While he will not have any Del Pieros, Baggios and Tottis to choose between, he has a wide enough panel to suggest that the achievements in Poland and Ukraine can at least be matched.

So have a couple of down days, Italy. But then stick out your chests and show your pride once more. If La Nazionale play their cards right, it could be a feeling you will get used to all over again before long.

AS Roma interested in Santon

Roma were one of the other clubs after the 7 times capped Italian International last summer, when Newcastle were successful in bringing the lad to Tyneside.

And Davide improved as a player last season, and it’s doubtful that Newcastle would even think of selling him at this point, and he is still a work in progress, and will only improve over the next few seasons in England.

The former Inter-Milan player is again interesting the Rome-based Italian club, after the 21 year-old played impressively in the second half of last season for Newcastle, who finished in 5th position and had a great first full season under manager Alan Pardew.

Roma’s Sporting Director Walter Sabatini has discussed the option of bringing Santon in with Zdenek Zeman, the 65 year-old Prague-born manager, who will become the new Roma manager.

Santon cost Newcastle around £5M last summer (€6M exactly), but it would take at least twice that amount for Newcastle to even think of selling the 21 year-old – but we think there’s little chance of that happening this summer.

Davide not only showed he is a top young player last season, but he’s already a first class professional and has been no trouble at all on Tyneside.

Davide was very patient as Alan Pardew brought him along slowly at first, once he had arrived at Newcastle, but then the lad improved over the last half of the season.

Davide Santon has played 27 times for Newcastle, and gives the club some flexibility, as he can play equally well in either full-back position.

Santon is happy at NUFC

As Davide Santon sits back this summer and reflects on his first season in English football, he knows he made the right choice.

Last August, aged just 20, Santon made the brave move of swapping Inter Milan – a club he had been with since childhood – for Tyneside and the lure of regular first team football at Newcastle.

And while he had to be patient, waiting four months before he could hold down a regular place in the side, a final tally of 27 appearances is not to be sniffed at as the full-back more than played his part in helping United qualify for the Europa League.

Santon has returned to Italy during the close season to visit family and spend time with his friends, but told that his maiden Premier League campaign went better than expected, and he cannot wait to be pulling on the black and white stripes again next year.

“It went really well. It was successful for the team but successful for me as well. I’m starting to get to know the team and make friends and it’s been a really good season. I’ve played a lot of games since breaking into the side. At the start I didn’t, but that was a good period for me. The manager gave me a chance to study, to find out about the team and where I was. It got me used to a new club and a new country and even though no player likes being sat on the bench, I can see that it did me good.”

And as for the difference between Serie A and the top flight over here, Santon has no doubts as to where he prefers to ply his trade.

“The Premier League is fantastic. I love it. It seems like every year English football is getting better, and therefore I’m thankful that I made the right choice to leave Italian football and come here. I hope I am going to stay here for a few years to come, and I hope next season is just as good for us as a team. I am really happy here in England and this is where I want to be.”

Despite a strong second half of the season with Newcastle, Davide Santon missed out on a place in Italy’s Euro 2012 squad – but will be cheering his country on during the tournament.

The 21-year-old, who joined United last summer, has seven full caps for the Azzurri and established himself as the Magpies’ first-choice left-back as Alan Pardew’s side finished fifth in the Barclays Premier League last season.

Playing Europa League football next season would certainly boost the ex-Inter Milan defender’s chances of returning to the national team fold, and he remains highly-rated in his home nation.

He has set his sights on a senior call-up for the World Cup in Brazil.

“The national team is very important in Italy. I would love to play for the senior team again – that is every player’s dream. I am not looking too far ahead but if I continue to play for Newcastle, and I have to play well, then hopefully I will be able to get more international caps. By the time the World Cup comes around I would love to be involved with the senior team.”

Once Interista, always Interista

“I had the fear of not being able to play again. It ‘was difficult to recover from the first operation to the meniscus, the knee swelled as always after each effort. So I decided, reluctantly, to close the season early. I had feelings of anger and sadness to see my teammates win. It ‘was really hard to see the team win and not lend a hand. I was always in the gym, but head and heart were in the field. I am still happy for the president, and the team mates but is normal that I feel so for not having attended the party. ” National Chapter, love the blue never fails: “I’m really happy to be matched to the colors blue. It would be nice for me and Mario. The blue dream and a great season with Inter. ”

“Maicon part? I know nothing. In any case I am ready to take the field whenever needed. Besides, I want the jersey holder. Mourinho criticized him for a life a bit ‘dedicated to pleasure: “I made mistakes from which I learned. We do important work and we honor and reputation. Then a boy, 18 year old species, is wrong but then must learn to overcome quickly. ” Chapter coaches, Benitez: “I saw his press conference and I must say that I liked. I knew him only by reputation and I know that in the past I wanted. I’m ready. ” Gratitude for Mourinho, who launched him: “I will always be grateful. He gave me more personality and especially the culture of work, train and live the best week of work and avoid distractions. Who worked with him was out of evil. ” On Balotelli: “Mario has improved. We know that this year we played a lot, but before maturity. Well the first two, the more difficult the third, David will close today with the oral test.