The "i"s are dotted and the "t"s crossed. Demba Ba walks out the door as Mathieu Debuchy walks in.
Farewell Demba. So long and thanks for all the goals. You hate to see a player that can score the way that Demba can leave, especially when you're leaking goals at the back as much as we are. The hope, however, is that Newcastle become a stronger unit than they have been this year. It never seemed to work with Double Demba - Papiss Cisse had his greatest success through the 4-3-3 formation; Demba Ba had his through the 4-4-2 (or more directly more of a 4-4-1-1) and when trying to play the two of them together in the 4-4-2 they clearly wanted to be in the same spots... One or the other of them had to be played out of position on a regular basis. The summer desire to keep the team intact personnel wise ended up with a promise to Demba that he would be the man, and there is an argument to be made that this in combination with the injuries and extra fixtures share in some part responsibility for the squad's underachievement thus far this season.
When you are sitting in 15th position in the league, you are never going to celebrate watching nearly half of your team's goals walking out the door. The blow will be softened somewhat by the fact that we have got Papiss still and that we will ostensibly have a touch more freedom to select a formation that puts as many of our players in an advantageous position as possible, be that 4-3-3 or whatever formation... but it will have Papiss in the center.
If rumor and innuendo is to be believed, it seems most likely that the 4-3-3 will be the destination formation. We've seen reports ranging from "Newcastle and Marseille have agreed terms and the club is contacting the player to hash out details" to "Loic Remy will not be moving at all in January"... but the backup plans are including Yoan Gouffran, so all indications seem to point in that particular direction. Useful to that formation will be newly signed Mathieu Debuchy, who has joined on a 5-and-a-half year deal. Described as a "winger in a defender's body", Debuchy has built his career on marauding up and down the right side of the pitch. One has to hope, however, that he will be an upgrade defensively over Danny Simpson who similarly likes to get forward on a regular basis and whose days look to be numbered with the club at this point.