What were they thinking? Newcastle’s most sh*te South American imports ranked from bad to dreadful

Magpies fans are already compiling their wishlists - but the club has occasionally been off the mark when recruiting from South America.

Newcastle's Brazilian defender Claudio Cacapa (L) vies with West Ham's English midfielder Scott Parker (R) during their Premier League match against West Ham, on September 20, 2008 at Upton Park, in London. AFP PHOTO/ GLYN KIRK Mobile and website use of domestic English football pictures are subject to obtaining a Photographic End User Licence from Football DataCo Ltd Tel : +44 (0) 207 864 9121 or e-mail accreditations@football-dataco.com - applies to Premier and Football League matches (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)


With Mauricio Pochettino linked with the Newcastle United job, some fans are getting ahead of themselves and building theoretical squads for if and when a theoretical takeover and managerial appointment go through.


South American talents may be high on the list, given Pochettino’s nationality and his success with the likes of Lucas Moura in north London.

However, Newcastle’s record with players from the continent hasn’t been the best. For every Nolberto Solano or Jonas Gutierrez, there’s someone like this…

Mauricio Pochettino Bayern Munich

Newcastle are 5/2 to spend over 100m(GBP) on any player before the 31st of January 2021


Brazilian centre-back Caçapa was part of Lyon’s golden generation, playing alongside the likes of Juninho Pernambucano, Michael Essien and Mahamadou Diarra.

However, it soon became clear that he was far from the glue holding the French club together.

As write-ups go, ‘unable to earn a regular spot in a relegated team’ isn’t great, even if you were injured for part of the season.

Daniel Cordone

How many goals is enough for a striker to score to be considered a success? There might not be a definitive answer, but it’s probably “more than three”.

Cordone’s total is the same as current Newcastle ‘attacker’ Joelinton, who we’ve only left off this list on the grounds that it’s theoretically possible (but hugely unlikely) for him to improve.

It’s probably too late for Argentine striker Cordone, who turned 46 in January and, erm, impersonated compatriot Claudio Caniggia in a charity game in 2014. Yeah, that was a whole thing.

Facundo Ferreyra

In four seasons at Shakhtar Donetsk, Argentina under-20 international Ferreyra averaged a goal every other game, with a high of 21 league goals in 2017/18. In the middle of that spell, he spent a curious season at Newcastle.

Not only did Ferreyra fail to score at St James’ Park, he failed to even play a single competitive minute. And it’s not like Newcastle were flying high without him – they only secured their Premier League safety on the final day of the season.

There were plenty of theories surrounding the move, some of which centred around the striker needing to escape Ukraine during the conflict in the Crimean region, but that only explains the move, not the lack of minutes.

However, as the player himself put it, “Here [in England], if you are not good physically, you can not play”.


These days, you might look at a player being sent out on loan to five different clubs in a calendar year and think something is up, but back in 1999 we didn’t ask questions.

Brazilian midfielder Fumaça had spent time at several clubs in the English second tier, all on loan from his parent club in South America, before eventually ‘settling’ at Newcastle. By which we mean playing five league games and not fewer than that, as had been the case elsewhere.

Michael Hudson perhaps put it best, writing for The False Nine, “Years later, and by then living in the Czech Republic, I saw him playing on TV for Moravian village team FK Drnovice.  He was crap then, too.”

Nacho González

Sometimes making absolutely no impact at a club isn’t the worst thing you can do.

Uruguayan midfielder González was presented to manager Kevin Keegan as a potential signing in 2008. Keegan wasn’t convinced. Newcastle signed him anyway. Keegan left in protest.

“Dennis [Wise] said he had heard great things but admitted he had never actually seen him play. Further enquiries revealed that nobody, in fact, from Newcastle had ever seen this guy kick a ball,” Keegan later said.

“When I rang Dennis to explain it was out of the question, he seemed determined to change my mind. Gonzalez, he said, was a ‘great player’. He was adamant we should give him a go and suggested that if I clicked on YouTube I might find some footage to change my opinion.”

Yes, Youtube.

González played an eventual 38 minutes for Newcastle, spread across two games. They lost both, and were relegated by a point at the end of the season.

We have a whole range of Newcastle specials over on paddypower.com

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