Everybody should really be listening a little closer when Newcastle United Managing Director Lee Charnley tells us about the January transfer window.

Mike Ashley’s employee Mr Charnley is often seen but rarely heard and when statements are put out in his name, we know that it is his master speaking, quite literally word for word..

As for proper interviews, where Lee Charnley actually talks to somebody, the last one was now over a year ago (January 2015).

No doubt overseen by the club’s press office, the NUFC Managing Director spoke to Mark Douglas from the Chronicle and it was very illuminating.

If you remember, Alan Pardew walked out and Mike Ashley obviously thought the club had more than enough points to stay up come the end of the season.

So we had an embarrassing January of claims by the club that they were searching the world for the best possible replacement for Pardew, then ended up giving it to John Carver, with every indication from ‘club sources’ and the man himself, that if he didn’t cock it up then the job was his permanently.

Once again, due to having enough points to be safe, Ashley felt he didn’t have to sign anybody and so not a penny was spent on first team players. Instead they got rid of Hatem Ben Arfa, sold Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and sent Davide Santon out on loan with a clause for a permanent deal if he played enough games.

The combination of John Carver and a weakened (and not strengthened) squad was almost disastrous, only staying up on the last day of the season.

This is what Lee Charnley told Mark Douglas a year ago:

“January is a difficult market to operate in. There are very few options whereby a club can achieve the quality required and also get value. There is often a reason as to why a player might be available in January.

“We were forced to bring players in a couple of years ago in January because of where we were in the league and some of those transactions we brought forward from the following summer at significant cost. As a general principle, January’s not an attractive window.”

You only have to look at these last four Januarys to see that Mike Ashley via Lee Charnley, was telling the truth.

January 2013 – Bought five players because of threat of relegation.

January 2014 – Bought nobody and sold Yohan Cabaye for £18m as had enough points for safety.

January 2015 – Let the three players named above leave and bought nobody as thought we were safe.

January 2016 – Bought three players (so far) for almost £30m due to severe worries of relegation.

Without doubt the transfers of Shelvey and Townsend would not have happened if we were five or six points above the relegation zone now. The Henri Saivet one may have still gone through because it is the type of signing we are used to, a cheap buy from France with a big risk factor and let the better paid Cheick Tiote move on for around the same price or more.

Nothing has changed! The money is only being spent and potentially wasted on overpriced players because Mike Ashley can see relegation is a real possibility of the squad that was seriously weakened due to a disastrous transfer policy year after year.

Just like January 2013, the money spent now is not some act of generosity from Mike Ashley, it is simply money that will be knocked off what is available to spend in the summer….if we are still in the Premier League.

Nothing was spent in summer 2013 and there will be seriously reduced transfer action this coming summer.

Listen to Lee Charnley for once, he told you the truth last January and nothing has changed…

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