Moussa Sissoko at last got his escape route on the final day of the summer transfer window.
Mike Ashley yet again holding the winning lottery ticket as Tottenham agreed to pay £30m for the waster.
The reporting earlier last summer, told us that Rafa Benitez was going to have money to spend whether or not any players were sold.
The reality of course being that everybody: Rafa, Mike Ashley, the fans, the media – all knew that players would indeed leave AND generate massive funds.
Wijnaldum, Janmaat, Townsend, Cisse and Cabella were all sure to go, with a figure of over £50m generated. Plus of course whatever the club would get for wor Moussa Sissoko.
Further helping the finances, as well as clearing the wages of these six top earners, Mike Ashley/NUFC also had the bonus of seeing Coloccini, Marveaux, Doumbia, Obertan and Steven Taylor’s salaries wiped off the wage bill.
On top of these 11, Newcastle were also saving all, or at least some, of the wages of loan players, Thuavin, de Jong, Saivet, Krul, Riviere and Mbabu.
So Rafa Benitez knew when he agreed to stay, that there would be plenty of money flowing into the club for possible reinvestment BUT did that have to include the Moussa Sissoko money?
This may be guesswork, just like most of what we read in the media…but is there not a case for believing that Rafa Benitez would have been more than happy with the amount of money from the other outgoing transfers, without Ashley having to also agree to hand him the expected £30m from the impending sale of Moussa Sissoko?
Rafa spent over £50m on the 12 players who came in and as we are so often reminded, that should be plenty to enable Newcastle to have ‘bought the Championship’, although it hasn’t quite worked out that way for Villa who spent a similar figure…
When Moussa Sissoko left in the final hours of that transfer window, fans and media assumed that the surplus £30m+ from the summer trading would be at least partially, if not wholly, then spent in January 2017 to (hopefully) ensure promotion and/or improve the squad in preparation for a Premier League return.
However, with only a handful of days left until the end of this window of opportunity, there have been no signings and all the messages coming out of the club are that there won’t be any permanent transfers happening, with only loan deals still a possibility.
We all know and are happy that changes have been made and Rafa Benitez chooses the signings and won’t have players imposed on him – but does this necessarily equate to anything else substantially changing at the club under Mike Ashley?
In fact only days after Rafa Benitez took over in March, following defeat to Leicester and a late draw with Sunderland in Rafa’s first two games – making relegation look a near certainty, Mike Ashley came out and said the following :
“All I can say is, there is a bank account, and when you have emptied it, it is empty. Don’t come crying to me for more money.
Virtually nothing left now. They have emptied it. I have virtually nil affect on Newcastle in reality because I only pick the board.”
Moving forward to December 2016, it was revealed that Mike Ashley had made a £33m loan facility available to Newcastle United from one of his other accounts. Supporters hoped that it was to help enable January transfers but the message from journalists friendly to the club, was that this was lending simply to make up the shortfall in terms of lost Premier League income.
With Tottenham said to be paying off the Moussa Sissoko transfer fee in instalments, is it not credible to think that the £33m (loan facility) and £30m Sissoko fee are a good fit – with Ashley eventually getting his money back by this route?
Whilst FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules are in place for Championship clubs, there is still a lot of leeway in terms of spending more than you get in and if Ashley wanted/wants to, he could just put that cash in to cover the shortfall this season. Not saying he necessarily should do, just that this could be done, rather than a loan against the club.
The transfer market is getting ever more crazy and it will be a major challenge to bring in the necessary quality this summer if promoted BUT I think there is a case for Rafa Benitez also being happy come the end of May with the funds that could be available for strengthening next season, without having to include Moussa Sissoko money.
As well as the £100m income or so via the TV deals that would be Newcastle’s once again next season if promoted, there will be also extra significant funds delivered by the guaranteed £10m+ sale of Thauvin to Marseille, plus hopefully raising decent extra cash through offloading Riviere, de Jong, Saivet, Krul and others.
I don’t always believe Mike Ashley…but on this occasion I do, in March he said he had no intention of gifting the club (his own business and asset!) any money and this debt (loan facility) will be taken back out of the club – so what easier way than the Moussa Sissoko bonus funds?