Lou Macari says he ‘would be amazed’ if Ryan Shawcross chose to play for Newcastle United over Stoke City next season.
Obviously he is always going to say that as being a Stoke City pundit helps him earn a few quid these days and as a former player it ensures he is going to see it from their fans’ point of view.
So if he right?
Well, Lou Macari puts up arguments such as Shawcross being settled in the area and would have to uproot family (he has three kids etc), which is fair enough.
He also points out that now wages are not an issue, as Stoke City with the Premier League money can match whatever Newcastle might offer, which again you can’t really argue with.
However, is the Stoke Captain the type of player who would fancy giving it a go to play in front of crowds twice the size of the twenty seven thousand that watch the Potters?
Also, does Shawcross see Newcastle United, just as Kevin Keegan & Sir Bobby Robson did, and now Rafa Benitez does, as a club that is capable of becoming a real power in the years to come?
Having a Manager to sell your club to potential transfer targets is a massive plus and obviously Rafa ticks those boxes – but can Newcastle prove themselves a bigger draw than their competitors if promoted?
Like Lou Macari, we as Newcastle fans are also biased, and we know what Newcastle United is capable of being, if given the chance to be ambitious under this manager – by Mike Ashley.
Clubs such as Leicester and to a lesser extent Southampton, and others, have shown that if you are well run then you can have a go at challenging towards the top.
Just because Manchester United can spend £90m on Paul Pogba, doesn’t guarantee them the title or even a place in the Champions League.
However, Tottenham are also showing in these past couple of seasons that they can challenge for the title, even though other clubs have far bigger revenues.
Fans and pundits of other clubs may cap the ambition of Newcastle United and its fans but that is irrelevant, it is only when the club’s owner also does that, when it becomes a serious problem.
Maybe players won’t come to Newcastle, or again maybe they will.
All we want to see is Rafa Benitez (if promoted) given the full backing (within a sensible budget) to bring in the players who he believes will progress the team/club.
It is a radical idea that Mike Ashley has veered away from for years but you never know, it might just work.
Lou Macari talking to the Stoke Sentinel:
“You can never be sure in this day and age but I would be amazed if Ryan Shawcross lined up at the start of next season in the black and white stripes of Newcastle and not the red and white of Stoke City.
“Gone are the days when a good Stoke player could be lured away by the promise of a much higher wage elsewhere.
“No disrespect to Newcastle but I can’t see the attraction of them right now, if I’m Ryan Shawcross.
“Newly promoted to the Premier League means they are in for a difficult time next season, while Newcastle is an awful long way north if you and your family are settled in this area.
“And I understand that Ryan and his young family are well settled in these parts that they know so well.
“He is on a sensational wage already at Stoke and I’m sure remains hugely valued by the club and the fans.
“Ryan has made a big name for himself over many years with Stoke City and that has to count for something.
“It may or may not be a coincidence that this story linking Ryan with Newcastle appeared with him having just over a year left on his current contract at Stoke and with new contract talks probably in the pipeline.
“I’m sure that if Peter Coates read that article he won’t have pressed the panic button and ordered immediate talks to get a contract signed and sealed as soon as possible.
“He knows stories like that appear at certain times and he will be relaxed about the club going at the right speed to do well by their captain.”
Lou Macari back on 29 February 2016:
“This (Aston Villa) is a great club with a tremendous heritage but they are going down and there’s every chance Newcastle will follow them.
“In both cases, poor management, appointments, investment and recruitment are catching up with them.
“Not so long ago we were told that the French market was the place to shop because Newcastle had a bit of success with one or two players – but it doesn’t look so rosy for them now.
“And it can’t be easy when they see clubs like Bournemouth and Watford, who were widely tipped to struggle and probably go down, doing so well this season.
“Without any fight or character you have got next to no chance of staying up and that’s a lesson both Villa and Newcastle are finally learning, but probably too late.”
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])