With still fourteen hours to go until this transfer window concludes, it is already building up to be Mike Ashley’s greatest ever.
The win at Hull on Saturday just about confirms Newcastle won’t be in any relegation trouble barring total disaster, so no wonder the United owner had a smile as big as his bank balance at the final whistle on Saturday.
Profits of around £50m for 2013/14 are expected to be announced any day soon thanks to not buying any players and banking the extra TV millions.
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However, Mike Ashley is not one to rest on his laurels.
With all the nonsense surrounding the imaginary search for a credible manager/head coach taking so many people’s eyes off the ball (transfer window), Ashley is in the process of completing an audacious month of business.
The achievements so far;
‘Selling’ Alan Pardew for reported compensation of up to £3.5m.
Getting one of the top wage earners Hatem Ben Arfa off the books.
Selling Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for £5.5m to AS Roma.
A deal is imminent for Davide Santon to go on loan at Inter Milan until the end of the season, with a £3m+ fee triggered if he plays a certain number of matches.
Those deals could add up to over £12m received in transfer fees, wages until the end of the season saved in the region of £4m. While just as important for Mike Ashley is that the long-term commitment to wages for all but Ben Arfa could be cleared from the books.
And remember this is all before you look at the possibility of a Moussa Sissoko still going…
When it comes to money committed going out, 17 year old Callum Roberts has been given his first professional contract and….errr, John Carver will no doubt have been given a minimal raise, with any decent extra money only coming via a higher league placing.
Maybe Ashley’s greatest achievement may well be how little criticism this transfer window’s ‘activity’ has attracted, mainly because of a downtrodden fanbase as well as a negligent media, especially the locals.
However, an extra factor in Mike Ashley’s favour is that apart from a few obvious players such as Janmaat, Krul, Perez and Sissoko, no others are seen as ones that fans are desperate to keep.
Which would be all very well if money generated was going to be used to strengthen with new signings, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Instead it is the ultimate Mike Ashley scenario, safe from relegation, unspent TV riches and now trading in high earners while the likes of the lowest paid youngsters such as Dummett, Abeid, Ameobi and Aarons take up the slack, not forgetting the more mature cheaper options Carver and Williamson as well.
Obviously we all hope the likes of Abeid and the rest can make the step up but any decent club would be looking at this as a great opportunity to bring in the much needed striker and central defender, not a cynical banking of any money the owner can get his hands on.