Only days after clinching the title, we had seen Rafa Benitez whisked off in a helicopter to meet Mike Ashley and then within 24 hours a club statement indicated the Manager was staying.
Rafa Benitez talked of his plans in advance of next season and told everybody to enjoy their summer.
Well we can now!
However, whilst Rafa staying and Mike Ashley’s ‘every last penny’ comment were always going to grab the eye/headlines, there was something else of interest that appears to have slipped by.
‘Plans for next season were discussed, including the purchase and loan of players to add to the squad in readiness for the Premier League season.’
Rather than talking about simply recruiting players, this was a major departure when the club is talking specifically about ‘loan of players’.
It hasn’t been the Mike Ashley way, the owner seeing loaning players as wasting money on something that isn’t a longer-term asset and no potential increasing in value in the future. A bit like renting a house instead of buying – it is putting money in somebody else’s pocket.
In the six Premier League seasons that followed Newcastle’s last (2009/10) promotion, Newcastle have only loaned three players for a full season.
Hatem Ben Arfa who ended up being made a permanent transfer halfway through his loan (whilst injured).
Then you have Loic Remy who did a great job and arguably scored the goals that saved/made that (2013/14) season.
Finally, we have the very strange case of Facundo Ferreyra. The Argentine striker obviously brought in for reasons other than playing football, as he didn’t play a single minute of first team football in 2014/15.
Newcastle though are in a minority of clubs outside the top handful, with loan signings regularly used to top up the quality of a Premier League squad.
It isn’t a case of seeing this as a long-term permanent Newcastle United policy but on promotion it looks a very effective/essential tool.
These are the loan signings that were made by the three clubs promoted in May 2016:
Patrick Bamford (Chelsea) 6 appearances
Jon Flanagan (Liverpool) 10 appearances
Alvaro Negredo (Valencia) 37 appearances & 10 goals
Calum Chambers (Arsenal) 24 appearances & 1 goal
Dieumerci Mbokani (Dynamo Kiev) 14 appearances
Markus Henriksen (AZ Alkmaar) 20 appearances
Alfred N’Diaye (Villarreal) 13 appearances & 1 goal
Lazaar Markovic (Liverpool) 14 appearances & 2 goals
Oumar Niasse (Everton) 17 appearances & 5 goals
Just like permanent transfers there is no guarantee of a loan one being a success BUT it does open doors at times for a level of player who otherwise wouldn’t come to your club – at least not at the present time.
Some of those players have moved for big fees and as you can see, most of them have been loaned out by the top teams with big squads.
Hull have brought three of their five loan players in during January and if they do survive, you could say that as well as their impressive manager, it will be the loan deals that have made the difference.
The probability of loan deals as part of Rafa’s pans, opens up a whole new group of players who could potentially be attracted to Newcastle United.
An interesting Summer ahead.