Today’s reports of the size of the ‘war chest’ handed to Steve McClaren by Mike Ashley, won’t be what Newcastle fans will want to hear.
With many believing/hoping that Mike Ashley’s speech on the final day of the Premier League would be the catalyst for a major show of ambition this summer, they may have to rein back in those expectations if today’s reports prove correct.
Getting big coverage today across the newspapers is the story that Newcastle are now supposedly targeting striker Troy Deeney of promoted Watford.
This follows Steve McClaren meeting Lee Charnley and Graham Carr yesterday at the training ground for a ‘transfer summit’.
Amongst others, the Mail say that Steve McClaren has instructed Lee Charnley to put in a bid for Troy Deeney, a player he bid for twice within the last 12 months when he was at Derby.
The Mail further say that they understand that Steve McClaren has been told he has £25m to spend in this summer’s transfer martket, which if true, would then make it more than understandable why there appears to have been nothing actually happening with a move for Charlie Austin, as any successful bid would surely take up well over half of the new Head Coach’s ‘war chest’.
As well as the repeated stories revolving around Premier League strikers such as Austin, Berahino and Carroll, Newcastle are increasingly being named as interested in players who were appearing in the Championship last season, or overseas signings who represent allegedly better value, such as Bas Dost.
As well as Troy Deeney of Watford, Newcastle have been linked in recent days with players from Ipswich (Mings), Charlton (Gomez and Cousins), Brighton (Dunk) and Leeds (Byram).
In Deeney’s case, he turns 27 this month and as well as scoring at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons in the Championship for Watford, he also captained them last season to promotion.
However, with their arrival in the Premier League you would doubt Watford are keen to cash in on their main goalscorer, especially when Walsall are reported to have a sell-on clause of 20% of any future fee, having sold the striker to Watford for £500,000 five years ago. However, Deeney may well see this as an opportunity for his last big move to set himself up, with Newcastle surely able to offer bigger wages than the promoted club.
As for the Mail’s report of a £25m war chest for Steve McClaren to spend, it probably wouldn’t come as the greatest shock to most of us.
Though of course I can understand many supporters being gutted if that is the limit of Mike Ashley’s ambitions, considering the full-on speech he gave less than a month ago about a more ambitious Newcastle United.
Whilst there was spending of over £30m last summer, that did come after 18 months of no players being bought, plus no players came in during the latest January window.
With Cabaye and Debuchy sold for a combined figure of around £30m last year pretty much covering last summer’s transfer activity, then spending the best part of two or three years £30m a year bonus TV money (compared to the previous contract) would have been most supporters’ starting point as to this summer’s spending power for McClaren and Newcastle United.
The last six months alone have seen Mike Ashley agree to sell Davide Santon and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as well as manager Alan Pardew for an extra £3m compensation.
On top of this, big earners such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez have been removed from the wage bill.
The money from Santon, Mapou and Pardew would surely contribute at least £10m to this reported £25m war chest, suggesting that very little has changed.
No doubt McClaren may have also been told he can also use any money he generates himself but then that leads to the same old problem, Newcastle can’t get rid of the many hopeless players they have accumulated in recent years, whilst selling the better players to generate cash simply means you are simply creating extra holes to fill.
We all hoped for swift action to reassure fans that the club were heading in the right direction again, but with the Premier League fixtures being released today, there is still no sign of much needed reinforcements coming in – despite it being only two weeks until the players start pre season training.