Another horse has been lined up in front of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United cart, so we now wait to see if they can help pull that near relegation cart from last season, forward once again.

There is one curious aspect that is shared by the Wijnaldum, Mitrovic (pictured above), Mbemba and Thauvin signings.

That is the fact all four signings were made over an extended period of time. In other words, Newcastle’s interest became public and days/weeks/months later, the deals did actually happen.

This is a major departure from pretty much everything that has gone before, with the old strict policy of the first offer being the only offer, obviously not staying true any more.

It looks clear to land some or all of these players, Mike Ashley (or minions on his behalf) had to negotiate with the clubs and probably the players as well, paying more than what was initially offered.

Reality may well have crept in, some eight years into the owner’s reign at St James Park. Paying decent money to land sub-standard players such as Riviere, Gouffran and others, is hopefully in the past – no wonder Newcastle didn’t have to do much horse-trading when they brought those signings over the line.

One healthy side-benefit once Thauvin committed to Newcastle, is that the transfer window discussion has now very much shifted from ‘how much’ Ashley will allow to be spent, to ‘who’ and what positions the cash has been invested in.

Not one of the current 19 other Premier League clubs let as many goals in as Newcastle last season, yet only Chancel Mbemba has arrived to try and help fix that.

One writer on The Mag suggested this transfer window could end up being the equivalent of buying a state of art burglar alarm, whilst at the same time leaving the back door wide open.

Another centre-back and left-back would top things off nicely but that looks a longshot on top of the spending so far, unless there is also a major departure, or two.

As it stands, attack looks to be Newcastle United’s best form of defence – time for Steve McClaren’s team to spread its wings?