As the days tick by with no new signings for Newcastle United, it is difficult not to feel that we are in for yet another car crash season of flirting with the bottom end of the table.
With 15 Premier League clubs having signed 35 players already, including a couple who have signed six each, you do wonder just what on earth is going on within St James Park.
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However, I do think there is one small glimmer of hope, a reason why Newcastle United have made no signing as yet.
The reason as usual with Mike Ashley, is how can he get the best financial benefit out of any situation.
When the last set of accounts for the 2013/14 season were announced, they included this special extra note:
Post balance sheet events
After the year end the club invested £29.8m on 6 new players to strengthen the playing squad and realised £12.6m from player sales.
The players it related to were De Jong, Janmaat, Riviere, Cabella, Lascelles and Darlow.
Newcastle’s accounts run up to the end of June and so the costs of bringing both Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez to St James Park would be included in those 2013/14 accounts as they were both signed in the first week of June. I know Colback was a ‘free’ from the mackems but there would still have been significant signing on fees etc.
So my optimism comes from the possibility that purely because it suits Mike Ashley in terms of working the system, he never ever intended to buy any players who would end up in this current year’s accounts (1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015). For whatever reason, not wanting extra expenditure to be added to that year’s figures.
This bit I can very much believe because you would think surely there would have been some movement at Newcastle by now, considering just how weak the squad proved to be last season and the fact that this close season has been squeezed due to a later than usual finish in May and the new season moved forward due to the 2016 Euros.
The more telling part will of course be what happens once we are past June 30, unless of course Mike Ashley surprises us all with a flurry of signings in the next 48 hours…
It may be pure coincidence but Siem de Jong was actually signed on 1 July 2014 – the very first day of the new (current) financial year. The very earliest in the new financial year that he could be used to stimulate season ticket sales and general interest.
No harm as well at this point throwing in the fact that the much delayed NUFC Fans Forum is to take place on Monday 6 July, giving the club 5 or 6 days of the new financial year to announce new signings in advance of club officials meeting supporters.
With so much anger and frustration built up from the chaos and near disaster of last season (plus of course the club’s broken promises to hold an urgent meeting with the fans forum before the end of last season), you can’t imagine the club wanting to meet the fans if we still have this status quo of zero signings? The negative fallout of such a meeting would do nobody any favours, least of all the club themselves.
This is of course pure speculation but I can see the mileage of signings happening in these early days of July and even potentially one or two announced in the hours leading up to that meeting with supporters.
If we reach 7 July with no credible signings then I think I won’t be able to stop myself reaching for the panic button.