You know sometimes how you go to the supermarket for just eggs, you’ve ran out and can’t complete your fry up without them…but you get distracted by a few good offers on things you don’t really need.
However, they’re cheap so you buy them anyway and end up forgetting to pick the eggs up that you went for in the first place? Well that’s how Newcastle United conduct their transfer business.
At the end of last season I think most of us wanted the entire team replacing, we knew that it couldn’t happen but we all had our own ideas about who should be out first, as well as the kind of players we needed to bring in to ensure that the farce of the 2014/15 season wasn’t repeated.
Chief amongst most people’s wishes at the time was that we made a clean sweep of the central defence and almost all of our strikers. Colo, Cisse, Willo, Riviere and Taylor had all either gone well past their prime, or shown themselves to not be Premier League standard.
So obviously, being Newcastle United, we kept all of them and added the bare minimum of numbers to strengthen the positions in the form of young, untested players from far weaker leagues.
In that example you could say that we did buy eggs, just not enough of them, the result being that we are left making omelettes out of eggs well past their best before date.
Few would argue that Gini Wijnaldum was not a good signing, an international class midfield player with an eye for goal is always a welcome addition, but you could argue that the £14.5m would have been better spent on a colossal central defender.
Likewise (and even more so) the money spent on Thauvin, a lightweight French winger to replace the lightweight French winger we loaned out as a makeweight in this very deal, a deal which makes no footballing or financial sense as we are still subsidising Cabella’s wages too. That is a combined total of over £25m which could have gone elsewhere, but we went out for eggs and came back with biscuits.
On to the current window and with the defensive inadequacies still not addressed, no goals in over 7 hours of football before last night’s relative feast. Where else would Newcastle begin their recruitment drive than central midfield? An area where there haven’t been an enormous amount of complaints recently.
Again, you could argue that the woeful lack of goals should have led our crack scouting team to have identified striking targets in the previous weeks and been in a position to pounce as soon as the window opened, having already sounded out clubs and agents to get a beat on who was available and for how much….apparently not. Instead the quest for eggs continues, but the bloke in the shop is instead lovingly fondling melons in the produce aisle.
We need a real goal scorer still, we need a towering central defender still, these are not new issues, these are issues which have haunted us for years. These are issues which have been plastered over at various times by the form of Andy Carroll, the short stay of Demba Ba, the first six months of Cisse and the loan of Remy, all of these were just sticking plasters over an open wound which is still bleeding.
Mbemba looks a decent defender but look at his choice of partners. Colo went over the hill three years ago at least and there’s no chance of him coming back. Taylor is an injury and discipline liability, Willo is lower league standard, as is Lascelles and Dummett.
We need a Matip, a Shawcross, a Huth….someone who really can defend. Currently our defence plays like a man with one good leg, sometimes we limp through, other times we fall over. It’s long past time we plugged that particular gap.
I am aware that the transfer window isn’t over and I’m equally aware that sometimes deals come up which are too good to turn down, but that excuse has been used many times before.
What should be obvious to all, is that if we finish the transfer window without buying at least one recognised and experienced striker, with a good goal scoring record, and a solid central defender, then these first couple of signings do not matter at all.
Shelvey is a good footballer and an England international, Saivet has a good reputation and seems highly rated..but both of them can look forward to lower league football next year if we don’t address the most pressing needs and buy some bloody eggs though.
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