It has been claimed that Newcastle United are to put Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote up for sale in the summer.
The ‘story’ in the Mirror states that the sales of the three would be used to help provide a £60m transfer pot for a new manager/head coach to spend on players.
Seemingly plucking figures and names at random, the Mirror claim that the new man lined up is Steve McClaren and that Mike Ashley has accepted that money needs to be spent now as prices will take yet another major leap once the next TV deals kick in from 2016.
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Whilst the Mirror ‘exclusives’ aren’t usually the most reliable indicators of what is going to happen to Newcastle United (or any other club) in the future, there may just be the odd grain of truth in what they are speculating.
Talk of McClaren turning up at St. James’ Park can’t exactly be relied upon, considering just how respected he is at Derby County and surely promotion to the Premier League would mean no chance of him wanting to leave there. He would be sure to be backed with their new found TV riches and speaking of which…
Talk of a potential £60m transfer pot isn’t totally out of the question, all it needs is Mike Ashley to allow it to happen.
Unlike almost every other club, Newcastle over the last two seasons (2013/14 and current 2014/15 season) have generated tens of millions of profits rather than major strengthening of the squad, which could fund such major spending this summer. With the 2013/14 finances set to be finally released in the coming days, they are likely to show profits of around £50m or more, including the £20m banked from the sale of Yohan Cabaye.
Whilst money was spent last summer, the sales of players such as Debuchy, Mapou and Santon will ensure that another significant profit will have been generated this season, when taking into account the extra TV cash in the current deal.
Other clubs will spend money this summer but with the FFP (Financial Fair Play) playing a major part, all clubs are having to carefully balance what they spend.
Whilst the usual handful of clubs will still be able to outspend Newcastle due to their bigger revenues, due to lower spending and their position in the top twenty revenue generating clubs in the world, Newcastle could have a lot more cash available than any of those outside that elite group of clubs.
Having cleared so many top earners (Cabaye, Mapou, Debuchy, Santon, Ben Arfa) off the wage bill, it would be no surprise to see the likes of Tiote and Coloccini follow, if Newcastle can find somebody to take them. Tim Krul would be a more contentious sale but the time could be right for both the player to take a chance elsewhere and Ashley to bank a decent transfer fee, as well as save wages.
Newcastle now have a host of players on relative peanuts who have been active members of the first team squad; Ameobi, Elliot, Williamson, Abeid, Aarons, Armstrong, Dummett, Haidara, Perez and Ryan Taylor. Others such as Obertan, Gouffran, Steven Taylor and Riviere won’t be on big contracts by Premier League standards either.
When you add the Forest pair Lascelles and Darlow to the mix, there would be surely massive scope to not only speculate on transfer fees but wages as well, especially if Tiote and Coloccini left as well.
The handful of top earners that could remain would also be a credible group of players to potentially make a fresh start, with Janmaat, Colback, Sissoko and Cabella needing to be convinced that Newcastle are going to be heading in the right direction again. Adding Perez, Aarons and a fit again Cisse & de Jong would see the basis of a squad that could create and score goals, given the right new players coming in to join them.
Last year’s £30m or so spending did little more than paper over a few cracks after spending nothing the previous year.
It is often the case but this summer Newcastle United could really go either way. Keeping the best players and major investment could transform the club, failure to do either (or both!) and Unted are only heading one way.
I would be in shock if Mike Ashley did go for an ambitious route and tried to compete.
The big difference though compared to the past is that the Newcastle United owner only has to say yes and it will happen. He personally won’t even have to put a penny in and his asset, the football club, will increase in value if credible players are brought in. Leading to bigger profits when he does sell.
In the past the TV riches weren’t there but now the goalposts have been well and truly moved.
The thing is that major spending in the squad is as essential for Mike Ashley in terms of protecting his asset as it is for the health of the team on the pitch.
It is a win/win situation and born gambler Mike Ashley is onto a sure winner if he only says yes.
Even I am starting to believe that this might happen, for no other reason than that Ashley has no choice, if he doesn’t want to risk all the benefits that owning a Premier League Newcastle United bring to him.