The vast majority of chatter about Newcastle United transfers every summer can be categorised one of three ways:

Rumours – Newcastle are (not) chasing player X

Complaints – Why haven’t Newcastle signed anyone?

Placation – Stop being impatient, signings will come

The rumours are part and parcel of football and have been since Andy McCombie mentioned he liked pan haggerty more than panaculty (one for the great granddads there).

Most of us just dismiss the names that are thrown in the pot and no one takes any of it seriously.  At least not until someone respectable confirms there’s something more to it, or (more reasonably) until there’s a picture of the player holding up a shirt.

Sky Sports and their partner Sky Bet have taken to an art form the generation of rumours that drive a gambling market to extract cash from the wallets of their viewers.  It’s a racket so simple and transparent you’d almost admire the audacity of it, if the lack of regulation wasn’t so dismaying.  This factor has skewed the rumour mill beyond all reason and only full time content creators will bother to keep up with it all and even then, most don’t bother.

As for people complaining, maybe I read and talk to a different sort of person in my bubble but I rarely see much of it.  I’m told there are lots of complainers and something must trigger the placators.

For me though, most seem to have a sensible view of how the transfer window will play out, with more business logically happening as it draws on.  The artifice clubs create, posturing with demands for a quick deal and insistence that the current offer is final fall away to desperation and conciliation, money starts to circulate between clubs and generates an increase in deals being done as the end of the window approaches.

What I see more of is the placation, lots of people taking the role of sage and perceptive soothsayer.

‘Rafa’s got this.’

‘What you worried about? It’s only June.’

While I find all three angles quite boring, I do most identify with the view that we should just wait and see. Conversely though, I find myself increasingly irritated by the placators that condescend to complainers, especially when they themselves initiated the high expectations.

For example, in May, The Chronicle told readers that Newcastle wanted to get an early start on transfers:

They told us this was the “inside track.”  That Rafa Benitez wanted “the majority of his Newcastle United recruits signed up by the start of pre-season (July 3rd).”  He was “in a rush to get things sorted as soon as possible” and this news was widely shared news across social media.

With expectations for early business set high, the weeks passed by and Newcastle still hadn’t added any new faces (to Christian Atsu – who’s loan turned into a permanent deal) two weeks before the start of pre-season.  However, when questions start being asked as to what happened to the early business promised, there was a gear change to recalibrate expectations.

Rather than being a different sort of pre-season where faces arrive sooner than they have previously, as touted, we are told that this is a transfer window and pre-season just like any other under Mike Ashley.  That “They’ve only signed players in June three times in the Ashley era.”  I mean, come on, what did you expect?

I don’t mind the club putting themselves in the best bargaining position early on by expressing a willingness to walk from deals that take too long, or even papers reporting that stance as it’s given to them.  But it winds me up more than a needlessly conceded free kick by Jack Colback to see complainers (where they exist) patronised, if they naively bought into notions sold to them by the club and media.

Where they exist, I don’t believe the majority of complainers are naïve. There’s a haughty disdain for anyone that rightly wonders what happened to the previous proclamations of pro-activity in pre-season.  But they’re only pointing out that we all know the emperor is wearing no clothes.  That the whole transfer window news cycle is one big charade to be ignored.

…until you get that picture of a trophy signing holding up a shirt.

You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt

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



  • Paul Patterson

    Signings will happen. Around mid july. We aren’t the only club not to have concluded deals yet.

    • Toon

      We have signed one

      • Paul Patterson

        Atsu isn’t a ‘new’ signing though.

        • Paul Turner

          He wasn’t our player last year, so he is really a new signing.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Shyte for Brains Penfold will want to get the Dross out 1st before we get players in that`s Fatso`s policy & it`ll be adhered to

  • steve

    Its the same for every club, every year, transfers only pick up once the summer international tournaments begin to finish.

  • Burt Humperdink

    I honestly do think this is to be expected. We walked into this transfer window with 2 blatant problems.

    1> Our squad size is huge with players from previous seasons still with club on decent to large sized wages i.e. De Jong, Revere, Saivet, Grant, Lazaar, Gamez, Krul, Selz. So we need to offload some of these which is easier said than done.

    2> We’re a team that has just come up from the championship who struggled for the 2 seasons before that. Therefore many players do not see us as there first or in some cases even second choice. Particularly if one of the top 7 are involved.

    Beyond that it is a tricky time to get deals done with internationals and players going on holiday. Not to mention the players know they have 3 months to decide so tend to hang on until at least mid July before making a decision which is actually quite prudent to be honest.

    • Damon Horner

      I agree, may reasons apply. Some of the bigger deals are done because let’s face it, where else would Benfica, Lindelof and acting agents have secured more money than a move to Man Utd?

    • Albert Stubbins

      good comment.completely agree.

  • Damon Horner

    Generally this isn’t a time to be anxious though, if the Chronicle being told by authority we’re aiming for early deals then that might have happened but as it didn’t what should they have reported? that we should panic? or just not reported nufc quotes at all?

    Take the whole thing with a pinch of salt. If the lack or timing of signings isn’t the issue then the reputation of the new players will be, if the reputation of them is high then they better perform consistently and if they do perform then why haven’t we won the league yet?

    • Guest 2

      The Chron pay nowt. ‘Preferred media partners’ do. The real scoops will come from Sky or The Mirror.

      • Damon Horner

        Doesn’t really matter who pays what does it? the Mirror hardly come out with strong exclusives. Preferred media partners would only be fed the information the club wants on public record so won’t get anything on transfer speculation because the club would want to keep their target players guarded.

  • Leazes Ender

    £400 million for the club and No debt attached…. who was right then?

    • Guest 2

      100 – 150 million, and still a majority ownership (with 129 million of debt) looks more likely, i’d suggest ;-)

      • Carlo Ancelotti

        you don`t think someone will invest £100m & leave the likes of Charnley in place.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I assume you mean me?

  • mentalman

    we need the big boys to start spending to get the transfer cogs oiled for the smaller clubs

  • Toon

    Did you title this rubbish yourself?

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I wondered that!

  • 1957

    Things are starting to move, the Chronicle say so. They expect us to sign Lejeune soon and we are looking at Gonalons another Frenchman for around £4m…Graham Carr has obviously come back from his holidays

    • Clarko

      Graham Carr doesn’t work for Newcastle.

  • Jezza

    An agonisingly frustrating and desperately worrying lack of transfer activity in the summer window has been par for the course ever since Ashley took over this club. Nothing has changed and to be truthful I never expected any different this summer.

  • Carlo Ancelotti

    Rafa wants business done early. took a lot of notice of him there then

  • S.G.M.

    The Tammy Abrahams debacle should tell you everything you need to know about transfers.
    Its very obvious that no price, no deal, no terms can be concluded until after the summer tournaments, if he has a mare (which up till now he is) he aint worth a jot, let alone 4.25mil (let Swansea have I’m) if he scores half a dozen then his agent Eliot van Winkle will tell us he’s worth twice that, yeh right, yet hes in and out of the headlines daily, Brighton, Swansea, West Spam all want him, what a load of bollocks.

  • Albert Stubbins

    we all know the chron knows less than nowt about the comings and goings at Newcastle yet still we read it- I’m starting to think the old bloke at the central that used to sell the ronnie gill years ago hypnotized me, as I can think of no logical reason why I still buy this garbage.

  • Neil Boreland

    The point is, if there really is a Chinese consortium looking at buying or investing in the club, why would Ashley commit money to buy players until either the deal is done or dead in the water – that’s my bet why we have nobody yet!

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      It’s only June.

      If the consortium is investing it makes little odds in terms of transfer activity. If the club has £100m in the bank or £100m of player the value is the same. Assuming anyone investing is backing Rafa, they will have to back his judgement anyway.

      • Neil Boreland

        Of course it makes a difference – if they spend £100 million today which in effect is Ashley’s money, the money has gone – money in the bank is always more valuable than the player you buy them with, value only comes with playing well or sell on value – look at Sissoko, Wijnaldum or Andy Carroll none of who are worth anything near what we sold them for.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Absolutely not. If the money in the bank was always better, we’d never buy a player. A new investor is not going to invest so that it stays in the bank, he’s investing because he thinks he can get a return, be that with prestige or financial.

          It’s not Ashley’s money, if Ashley sells the company with 50 pplayers on hte books and £50m in the bank, the buyer gets 50 players and £50m.

  • HappyToons

    It’s all part of pre-season,-yes every season. The rumour mill is to sell news or have as many visitors to a site as possible. The chron had a million hits when we won the Championship; so Geordies are seeking ‘news’ more than most. That is why we are so frequently on talk radio, the number of listeners. Agents also want the biggest transfer cut possible so advertise their (rather than a club’s) merchandise hoping for the highest bidder and biggest wages.

    Back in the day the Chron would keep us excited and even Alan Oliver had a couple of insiders. Players are on holiday. July is when it all starts cooking unless the takeover is an excuse not to buy the big transfers we need, as past history lesson.

    Rafa isn’t a mug or yes man; he is the man with the plan or he would walk rather than be made to be a fool. It is all very interesting as we wait to see how will come in!

  • nevfur

    All managers want signings done early but financially it benefits the players, agents and money men to string things along so very little gets done early. As usual expect most deals to get done in July and things for most clubs to go to the wire to complete all of their business if they even achieve everything they want. As Rafa appears to want quite a few signings and a lot available to leave via transfer or loan July could be busy