pardewoneill1Alan Pardew and Martin O’Neill have traded (verbal) blows on the touchline but who will prove the winner in the toe to toe transfer contest?

While spending was kept to a minimum at St.James’ Park in the summer, O’Neill was given some £25m to bring in Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, two players who every other Premier League manager was well aware of. While Sunderland have also dipped into the overseas markets, their main purchase again was homegrown (as a Geordie!) Danny Graham for a fee of around £5m, again a player that was well know to everybody in England.

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In contrast, Newcastle have continued their raiding of Ligue 1 and have added Mapou, Sissoko, Haidara, Gouffron and Debuchy for some £18m, three of them already French internationals. These were added to the stellar signings of Ben Arfa and Cabaye who are reported to have cost anything up to £11m for the pair.

So for rough figures you could say that Martin O’Neill has brought in three proven Premiership players for around the same as Newcastle have paid for five French internationals plus the youthful Haidara and Gouffran with a decent goalscoring record in France.

Sunderland may be just ahead of Newcastle in the league at the moment but who will be the transfer market winners in the end? Newcastle v Sunderland, France v England/Scotland?

I would say a fair reflection must be based on what happens next season, the anti-Newcastle faction will no doubt be hoping/praying that Newcastle’s over reliance on the French market will lead to cliques/players not settling/not enough quality French restaurants in the toon/ the step up to Premier League proving too much – and so on.

I would find it very hard to envisage Newcastle coming out on the wrong end of this contest, especially taking into account other factors.

Newcastle’s problems going into this season were not that we didn’t have decent players, it was that we had some excellent/decent players but if anybody was injured it was almost certain to lead to a massive drop in ability from their replacements. The challenge was to add quality to quality and now belatedly that appears to have happened in January, plus with real value for money.

By contrast, looking from the outside Sunderland looked to have a very mediocre team and could just about put out two different teams and you would be hard pressed to say which was better. Bringing in players who would be better than they had would hardly be difficult and so it has proved, Fletcher and Johnson proving easily to be two of Sunderland’s best players but it comes at a price by going for the obvious, even with players already proven in the Premier League at a middle of the table kind of level.

If both teams hang onto their best players then there will be only one winner but maybe that is Newcastle’s biggest weakness in the contest.

Clubs with big resources may see there is still big value in players like Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Sissoko and others, whatever prohibitive transfer fees are placed on their heads by Mike Ashley. In contrast Sunderland have already had to pay right up to the value (and beyond?) for their signings, both in terms of wages and transfer fees.

As always, the greatest threat to Newcastle United is whether there are any self-inflicted blows in the summer.

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mrkgw 5pts

We should have signed him. £15m paid. Done. Simple as.

stepaylor 5pts

If i ownee qpr i would keep him. Anything to get back on the premier league. The money there is all that matters right now. Qpr have a good chance of going back up with Austin leading the line. Im surprised they didnt give barton a 1 year deal too

Cheshire Ranger
Cheshire Ranger 5pts

As a QPR fan I think this article is spot on, the club have signed some good players during the transfer window, there is a very good chance we will be in the mix for promotion again this year. Of course if we do go up we will almost certainly be in in the relegation battle again next season.

mactoon 5pts

So what is the worst that can happen for QPR?

They could have had £12 million for him and bought a decent striker for half that. Now they will get half the £12 million in January when he realises he isn't featuring in any England squads or nothing in the summer. It's simple maths

QPR Jeff
QPR Jeff 5pts

He's a steal at £15 mill. Delighted he's still a Hoop for now. 20+ goal championship strikers are going for £10 mill plus and he's done it in the Prem. Could cost maclaren his much was the crazy fella who can't stay on a pitch for 90mins???

mentalman 5pts

The biggest problem for qpr is the ffp rules which they are breaching by keeping their highest paid players. They can't sustain the likes of charlie who is reportedly paid 85k per week, with others on similar wages to.

v0ices 5pts

@mentalman but they can for a year because of parachute payments they are gambling on a fast return.  

QPR Jeff
QPR Jeff 5pts

Sensible article at last from North East. QPR offloaded about 17 players, most high earners. Austin is not one of them, signed when cutting costs in the championship last time. He's on about £25k per week. QPR previously stated they want him on a new contract, he can double his wages and stay or wait and treble them on a free. He's come from non-league and has a good attitude so good luck to him whichever. NUFC never even made an offer, if he’s going cheap or free will likely opt for a London club, not in relegation zone...

Mal44 5pts

@QPR Jeff  If you get promoted then the gamble of not selling will have paid off, even if he goes on a free at the end of the season. I can't see him signing a new contract though as it's clearly in his interests now to run down his present one and pick up a massive signing on fee (not to mention higher wages) with a new club, providing of course he's continued to bang them in. Give Austin his due though, he has acted very professionally. Best of luck on getting promotion; if you manage it you'll be able to afford a good replacement anyway.

I don't believe the stuff about him only signing for a London club; I think he'll be open on that score. Which London clubs do you think won't be in the relegation zone by the way? :)

LeazesEnder 5pts

Why have we had the Austin story shoved down our throats by the Chronicle every day of summer, the only reason we are fed up with it  is because of Ryder and the Chronicle if they had mentioned the link a few times fair enough but the overkill page fillers day after day after day....