It almost appears impossible but Newcastle United managed it.
Imagine in June 2014, you had been told to go out and spend £115m over the course of the next 19 months on new players for Newcastle United but make sure none of them end up going to the 2016 Euros in France…
It would be something that even Joe Kinnear might struggle with but Newcastle managed it very nicely without him.
Starting with the summer 2014 transfer window, in four transfer windows (well three really because Carver wasn’t allowed any new players in January 2015 when Cabaye was sold) Newcastle have spent some £115m on 18 players, 16 of them permanent and two on loan.
Not a single one of the 18 will be in France this summer, well they might be but they won’t be playing football at the Euros.
The two loan players weren’t eligible to play as they are Argentinian (Ferreyra) and from the Ivory Coast (Doumbia) but only two of the 16 permanent signings, Saivet (Senegal) and Mbemba (DR Congo), weren’t capable of dreaming of playing in the Euros.
These are the players Newcastle have signed since June 2014:
Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback
Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere, Daryl Janmaat
Facundo Ferryra (loan), Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles
Gini Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba
Ivan Toney, Florian Thauvin
Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend
Seydou Doumbia (loan)
Playing in the Euros isn’t everything and there are talented players who will be missing out…but it is remarkable that when you aim at the European leagues and spend so much money, you manage to have nobody there.
There are some hard luck stories such as Townsend just missing out but just how much money has been wasted on players who are just not good enough – Thauvin, Cabella, Riviere, de Jong and others.
You might point to the fact that a number of our players are eligible for countries that have failed to qualify for the Euros (and are failing in general).
However, doesn’t that also point to the folly of signing Dutch players in particular when their level of football is going through such a low point?
To sum it all up, I believe Newcastle United have been looking in the wrong places for players and have wasted a fortune after having their pockets well and truly picked, especially over the course of these last two years.
Fingers crossed and every faith that Rafa Benitez will get better players at better prices…