Seeing the wood for the trees is always a bit tricky when it comes to the transfer windows.

We all know that close to 100% of players that we are linked with won’t be signing and of the players we actually do sign, little or nothing is heard until the deal is more or less finalised.

So when names are put forward on the rumour mill, what is worth giving any consideration to?

I’d say it is clear that we are not going to sign any Premier League based players who are automatic first choice players for their clubs, apart from the absolute dross that you wouldn’t touch with somebody else’s bargepole.

So when people talk about Blackburn’s Samba or Cahill of Bolton, it just isn’t going to happen. Both are probably the highest wage earners at their respective clubs, they would expect more money to move and it is pretty unlikely they could increase in value over and above what NUFC would pay for them.

Players like Jan Vertonghen of Ajax, who we profiled earlier this week, is somebody who I would guess is at the very limits of a player profile Ashley would consider. In his favour is that he is young (24) and already an established international but one who plays in a league that doesn’t generally pay massive wages. Any transfer fee would be on its way towards £10m but wages would almost certainly be significantly lower than say Cahill or Samba, bizarrely!

Will we actually sign anybody? If I had to stick my neck out I would say we will probably sign one defender for up to around £3m, likely from abroad. Even players like Nedum Onuoha at Man. City and Ridgewell of Birmingham could be seen as too expensive in terms of wages/fee, plus resale value in Ridgewell’s case with being 27. Especially when these players would probably  be seen as squad players long-term, rather than first team certainties.

The likelihood of incoming players a is unfortunately/sadly still largely linked to others going out. As in if they decided they were unlikely to agree a new deal with Danny Simpson then I could see a scenario of him leaving and Onuoha coming in.

Similarly, pushing the boat out for a quality striker should be pretty much a no-brainer but I can’t see it happening…unless one of our big players are sold, which would make it pretty pointless in my opinion.

A realistic strategy should be at the minimum giving Alan Pardew freedom to bring in at least £10m of players, though most would argue that much more than should be available as we are still playing catch up with the likes of unspent Carroll money.

A sensible £10m or so could allow a Ridgewell/Onuoha type player coming in for a few million and then best part of £10m to speculate on a striker.

The very sad part of this is that my biggest hope is that we don’t sell one of our key players!

Bringing in a centre-back of the profile  of Vertonghen and a similar striker would be a dream and at least they can’t take away our dreams, or have they already?

As we keep saying, I hope they prove us wrong…