The euphoria has given way to a few nerves and I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in worrying, that the Newcastle United summer rebuild has a slight question mark hanging over it.

I’ll be told not to fret. I get that. I’m aware that last summer after relegation the influx of players didn’t really kick off until early July. There remains time to get the six or seven quality players needed to make a good fist of this Premier League return.

The club will hopefully go out and lay all this nonsense to rest. The players are back for the start of pre-season on July 3, I suspect they’ll be hoping to welcome some new teammates too.

The next three weeks are critical. We’ll soon know how things are going to play out over the summer trading period. The transfer window officially opens on July 1. It’s pretty simple really – nobody comes in and there’ll be hell on. Sensible investment and we can all look forward to the season with a bit hope.

My nerves stem from the sheer volume of names being linked, maybe more so than any other summer. Every day there is a new player in the frame, some reports try to outdo each other by opting for ‘advanced talks’ or ‘keen on the move’. So many players have been mentioned since mid-May that I’ve forgotten some of the ones who were supposedly on the list from the previous few days, let alone eight weeks ago. Nothing, as of yet, is concrete.

The other concern has emerged from the fact we appear to have missed some targets and the age old issue of haggling over fees seems to be back with a bang. Lee Charnley’s negotiating skills under the microscope. Again, I hope this isn’t the case.

The manager, it is claimed, is ‘frustrated’ with the lack of progress. I get that, too. Me and him both. A national newspaper went as far to say that he’ll quit over this alleged malaise. This was shot down by local news outlets. The prospect of Benitez leaving is too bleak to even explore at this stage but it would definitely wreck the fragile resurrection of our football club.

What say is the manager really having on recruitment if he’s peeved that progress is slow? That leads to the conclusion that he isn’t managing these deals, despite the fact he has won an apparent power struggle with the chief scout Graham Carr.

There has been another change behind the scenes too. The club’s Managing Director is apparently answering to a senior troubleshooter from Sports Direct, a fella called Justin Barnes.

Has this had an impact on the progress made? Is this individual a stooge, carefully positioned to veto any spending that exceeds the owner’s parameters? Or is he just there to broker a possible takeover?

Then there is the claim of this apparent fresh investment, from China or the US. Is it real or is this another cynical ploy by Ashley to put the brakes on the budget he reportedly promised to Benitez back in May?

The takeover claims of previous years always had the feel of a ruse that allowed the owner to sidestep significant investment.

There are plenty of questions there. Many we simply won’t get the answers to until the transfer window shuts at the end of August.

We can only hope the right plans for next season are in place and that the owner hasn’t reverted to his old habit of pulling the rug from under his manager, with the Watfords and Bournemouths of this world showing us up.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Rafa will have given the Minion Penfold his list of players weeks ago, i fear that if no new players are recruited by Monday there`s a good chance Rafa will walk away

    • Wor Lass

      Exactly – monday is D Day, I think. We`ll be into the new financial year for FFP so Penfold should get the green light to sign the cheques after friday. Hopefully, he`s got a few deals lined up and ready to go and we should be into a signing frenzy with all sorts of mediocre foreigners jetting in. I hear Gomis has washed and ironed that pink shirt already!

  • Rev

    As long as we get the right players next month who cares? Papers have to sell stories and they are not getting any from the club. Break the bank for a decent striker and get the rest as loan cast offs that would do me. We will know soon enough whether its make do and sign a few £5 million dads army pros and cross fingers or spend whats in the bank and give it a go. As long as the club sells all the season tickets and everyone buys the shirt they won’t give a hoot. Football is Rafa’s business. We still have the same owner so nothing is going to change there

  • Will Venus

    “Fact” that we appear to have missed some targets due to the age old issue of haggling over fees??? Who are the targets we have missed ???

    • Jezza

      Supposedly Abraham, Delph and Reina plus one or two others.

      • Paul Patterson

        ‘Supposedly’ – really? You’re getting in a twist over rumours..

        • Jezza

          No, I was simply trying to give a genuine answer to the question.

          • Geordiegiants

            Soz Jez, but it’s all paper talk at the minute. NOBODY knows who we are going after, who we have tried to sign, misssd or who we have been turned down by. It’s all pure and utter unadulterated speculation.

          • Jezza

            Fair enough, it may well be all rumour and speculation. The only solid indisputable fact we can go on is that 8 weeks into the close season and 10 days before pre-season training starts we have not added a single new player to last season’s Championship squad. That does not bode well.

          • Geordiegiants

            No I don’t dispute that at all. I just can’t believe most people seem to believe all of this speculation. There is not one solid peice of fact behind any of it. Abraham for instance, he hasn’t signed for anyone, or said he is signing for anyone and the papers had him just about signed an sealed at Newcastle, then signed sealed and delivered at Swansea and he has turned down Newcastle. What a load of BS, none of them have the slightest clue. There is no solid info anywhere to back anything up. That’s just the one instance. The lejeune thing, apart from the owner saying, IF we came in for him they couldn’t compete with the wages. Was that a set up direct question to initiate our name? It’s all nothing but guess work and everyone is debating pie in the sky rubbish.

          • Jezza

            Maybe you’re right. I didn’t realise Abraham hadn’t signed for anyone yet. I was under the impression that he’d completed a move to Swansea based on what I’d read on this site! You just don’t know who or what to believe these days.

          • Geordiegiants

            I know it’s mad, they are going on like they are talking about confirmed info. England has just been knocked out last night, so I’m sure we will find out one way or the other in the next couple of days about Abraham. The rest who knows?

      • Will Venus

        I don’t know anything regarding the break-down of a Delph transfer under those circumstances, but Abraham and Reina had nothing to do with haggling over fees. Abraham has gone to Swansea on loan to work with Paul Clements again and as far as I know, Reina has stayed at Napoli. No big loss, Abraham hasn’t played in the Premier League and I don’t think Reina is any improvement on what we’ve already got.
        Supposedly and fact are worlds apart, and as for the one or two others, who are they?

        • Jezza

          I wasn’t trying to start a debate over who we should or shouldn’t try to sign. I was just trying to answer the question as best as I could.

  • Paul Patterson

    I fancied beans on toast for my breakfast this morning, unfortunately I had no bread or beans in the house. I wanted my breakfast at 8am, sadly the local shop doesn’t open until 9:00am. I therefore had to wait for my breakfast. I then went to work whereby I was asked by my colleagues what I had for breakfast. I announced ‘Beans on toast at 9:30 this morning’ and ‘I also bought some nice Salmon and veg for tea tonight and some beef and mash for tomorrow’s dinner’.

    I couldn’t have done all that before 9am AS THE BLOODY SHOP WAS SHUT!! 😬😬

    • Jimblag23

      What about all those signings other clubs have made?

      • Paul Patterson

        If they choose to announce early then that’s their business.

        • Jimblag23

          Could we not do that? Payments can also be delayed so as to be in the next financial year.
          I’m not freaking out but people expecting a flurry of signings in the first week of July I fear may be disappointed.

          • Paul Patterson

            I agree. But too many people are getting in a twist too soon. I’m confident that things will start to happen next week.

          • Jezza

            Where have you been during the past 20 transfer windows since Ashley took over?

          • Paul Patterson

            We’ve still signed players, NET spend doesn’t matter. As long as we do spend and we will.

          • Jezza

            I just can’t see it to be truthful. This summer is just panning out exactly the same way transfer windows always do since Ashley took over. I don’t even get stressed or agitated about it any more. I know exactly what to expect and have become conditioned to it

    • Geordiegiants

      I have just got this off the premier league site…….. 22.46 27/06/2017
      The summer transfer window is open and will close at 11pm BST 31 August.

  • mentalman

    what targets have we missed out on?

  • Jezza

    The lack of activity in this summer transfer window has come as no surprise whatsoever. I said all along throughout last season that NUFC fans who expected the club to spend big this summer were deluding themselves. This was always going to be yet another transfer window of zero net spend under Ashley.

    • Vodkamagpie

      Others clubs are signing loads of players, NOT!!!!

      • Jezza

        I think you’ll find other clubs are signing players. In any case it doesn’t matter what other clubs are doing. It is now almost two months into our close season and we still haven’t strengthened on last season’s squad at all even though we desperately need to if we are to have any chance of surviving in the top division next season. Pre-season training is just over a week away. We should have strengthened by now but it comes as no surprise that we haven’t.

        • Vodkamagpie

          A total of 21 in coming transfers made by premier league teams to date, an average of around one per team, we have signed atsu, we on par with the rest. Negotiations take time, unless you are Everton currently splashing cash around 30Mil for Pickford, 24Mil klaasen, overpriced, quick negotiations. Would you be happy for us, Newcastle, paying for overpriced players?

          • Jezza

            Yes I would definitely prefer to see NUFC “paying for overpriced players” and have a chance of competing rather than no new signings, big profits for Ashley and a relegation battle.

          • Vodkamagpie

            Paying for overpriced players doesn’t guarantee success, Owen, luque, boumsong. Being smart and buying reasonable priced players with the right combination of players being more of a chance of success, cabaye, tiote, dabizas, solano, ba etc

          • Jezza

            I agree 100% about “overpriced players” but on the other hand, not signing anybody and maximising profits when the team desperately needs strengthening does guarantee failure.

          • Vodkamagpie

            When does the transfer window close again?, end of August?, that’s about two months right?

          • Jezza

            Yes there’s still plenty time but I just can’t see NUFC being very active. It’s just shaping up to be like pretty much like every transfer window we’ve had since Ashley took over our club.

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    I persuade myself to remain patient for signings to be unveiled in July (in the new financial year). However, intuitively I get the feeling my hopes & aspirations for the club I’ve followed for over 40 years is about to continue with its systemic abuse of the fans. I hope I’m bloody wrong or I predict a riot!

  • Down Under Mag

    I am quite sure that if things were really that bad then Rafa would not be here…it’s not like he couldn’t get another job if he wanted to and he seems to have made it clear how he wants things run at the club. The papers have been stirring things up with the fans and claims about the manager, BUT it has been statements like “fans are worried Rafa will walk” etc etc with no talk coming from the man himself.

    No doubt as soon as the first signing arrives there will be a backlash anyway because we only spent ‘X’ million or he isn’t Messi and therefore the club isn’t showing enough ambition…will be interesting what is said now Carr is no longer “to blame”…