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Mike Ashley’s Changing Ambitions?

10 years ago

During Mike Ashley’s time at Newcastle the transfer strategy, in terms of finance and fees anyway, has been somewhat conservative. The likes of Cheick Tiote for £3.5million and Yohan Cabaye for £4million, plus others such as Ba, Abeid and most recently Amalfitano on frees, spring to mind as stand out but very cheap singings. In fact after Newcastle’s relegation if you look at every player signed since, the figures make startlingly conservative reading: (Transfer fees rarely confirmed by the buying club these days but the following are figures widely reported)

Summer 2009

Danny Simpson- Loan, Peter Lovenkrands- Free, Zurab Khizanishvili- Loan, Marlon Harewood- Loan, Fabrice Pancrate- Loan

January 2010

Danny Simpson- £500,000, Wayne Routledge- £1.5million, Mike Williamson- £1million, Fitz Hall- Loan, Patrick Van Aanholt- Loan, Leon Best- £650,000

Summer 2010

Dan Gosling- Free, James Perch- £1.5million, Sol Campbell- Free, Cheick Tiote- £3.5million, Hatem Ben Arfa- Loan

January 2011

Hatem Ben Arfa- £5million, Shefki Kuqi -Free, Stephen Ireland- Loan

Summer 2011

Yohan Cabaye- £4million, Demba Ba- Free, Sylvain Marveux- £2m, Mehdi Abeid- Free, Gabriel Obertan- £3.5million, Davide Santon- £5.5million, Rob Elliot- £200,000

This illustrates that in the last five transfer windows there has been a reluctance by Newcastle to spend over £5million  on a single player. In January 2012 however,this appeared to change as Newcastle forked up to  £10million for Papiss Cisse, who has been nothing short of a revelation since joining.

This might have been seen as a one off by the club for a special signing, however reports during this current ‘silly season’ appear to indicate otherwise. Newcastle have been constantly linked with £6-8million rated Lille and France full-back Mathieu Debuchy, with Pardew stating live on Newcastle Radio that he wants to sign “Cabaye’s Mate” and quoted as saying that he would love to sign one French player from the Euros by the BBC. As well as this, Newcastle have been reported as offering £8-10million for FC Twente Forward Luuk De Jong. This in in stark contrast to Newcastle’s previous transfer exploits and could mean one of two things:

Firstly, that because Newcastle’s success in the transfer market has been so widely publicised, clubs are now awake to this fact and so are asking for more from United. Interestingly, two of Newcastle’s best signings of recent times have been Yohan Cabaye from Lille and Cheick Tiote from FC Twente. With this in mind, the fact that Debuchy and De Jong both also play for these exact clubs takes on added significance. The two clubs will of course have taken note of the success of the players since moving to the Magpies and will want more money for their current stars off of Newcastle this time.


There is now a change in ambition from Ashley. If Newcastle were to secure Debuchy for £6million and De Jong for £8-10million, this would already constitute a substantial amount of money paid out in the transfer window and would arguably still leave the club needing a centre- half, a centre-midfielder and a winger at the very least. Therefore either the fees quoted are grossly inaccurate or there appears to be a change in ambition at the club.

How exciting for Newcastle fans if it be the latter, as should the club succeed in getting both Debuchy and De Jong through the door, manage to hold on to stars such as Ba and Tiote and get a top-quality centre-half, back-up centre-midfielder and a winger, than they can be more than a force for anyone next year despite what the cynics are saying…Newcastle having a one-off season and won’t be back, or that the strain of the Europa League will be a detriment to Newcastle’s League form. Should Newcastle sign Debuchy, De Jong, a Centre-Half, a Centre-midfielder and a winger, as well as keep hold of main players such as Tiote, Ba, Krul, Cabaye etc, then I can’t help but see Newcastle have a similarly successful season, with perhaps a trophy to round it off…

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