We were assured by Mike Ashley, when he spoke on the final day of the season, that Newcastle would be loosening the purse strings, and competing with the bigger clubs for top players this summer.

However, move on over two weeks, and we are now left wondering – has anything changed?

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I know it’s only been two weeks. I know the transfer window is not officially open yet. I know that we are still waiting for the formal introduction of our new (same old) manager. However, we are currently seeing report after report of the same old guff involving incoming transfers that have blighted us year after year.

I understand that these are just news reports, and consequently, cannot be taken as gospel, but for every reporter, whether local or national, to be saying the same thing (in my eyes) is too much of a coincidence.

André Ayew was, apparently, one of our top transfer targets. He is now reportedly not value for money. Let that sink in for a second. A free transfer, who is a top quality player, is not value for money.

We were, apparently, going to offer him a £2million signing on fee, and £30,000 a week wages. Astronomical to you and me, but in footballing terms, not a huge amount. There was no report of him having turned this down, merely reports stating we are no longer pursuing him.

Patrick Bamford, a young English up and coming player, who is being tipped as a future England player. Chelsea slap a £10m fee on his head, and immediately it is reported that Newcastle are unlikely to do business at that price.

Marco van Ginkel. Newcastle were interested in bringing him in. Chelsea quote their price, quickly followed by reports of that being enough to see Newcastle cool their interest.

The club still expect fans to believe that we’re going to offer £15m for Charlie Austin. I truly hope I am proved wrong, but I fully expect to hear in the next couple of weeks, that Newcastle have offered £7m, which will be turned down flat, and will then end their interest in preference of seeking better value for money elsewhere.

Top players, and especially English ones, will have to be bought using big money. This is what we were assured would be the type of money the club were going to pay this summer. This, it appears, may not be the case after all.

I am the first to say that I wouldn’t want Newcastle to be fleeced by anyone. Some players are given ridiculous price tags, that only a fool (or Manchester City) would pay. The latest one of those is Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace. £10m they apparently want for him. When I read that we were interested in him, I was shocked (and disgusted…surely even we can seek better than that). When I read the price tag on him, I almost choked on my cornflakes!

The fact is, if you want to bring in quality signings that will stave off situations like last season, you have to put your money where your mouth is.

The one thing that Mike Ashley (and his businesses), our manager-elect, and our incoming signings have in common is bargain basement. You pay Sports Direct prices – you get Sports Direct quality.

For once, I wish we would shop in Fenwicks instead.

You can follow Paul on Twitter @PNic_SpJournStu as well as Facebook, plus he has his very own blog