With rumours aplenty, but no new arrivals, many Newcastle fans are a ‘little’ concerned about the apparent inactivity.
I don’t think it is a lack of inactivity, more a lack of ability. By that I mean that Newcastle United are no longer a draw for high-calibre players.
Players are not stupid, well, not all of them anyway.
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They read the newspapers and look at sport websites the same as we do. In fact, many of them will be more clued-up than we are, as they will probably know someone at the club, or if not, they’ll know another player that does.
They will have a bigger insight into the shambles that is, and has been for the past few years, synonymous with Newcastle United.
In all honesty, with the current climate of turmoil, fan protests, lack of leadership, penny-pinching, ridiculous media policy, bad publicity, lack of ambition, and even an inability to attract an assistant manager, who on earth would want to sign?
However, for this to change; Ashley, Charnley, Carr, McClaren, or whoever it is that will make the ultimate decisions, need to show intent. The only way they can do this is to use the one bargaining chip left for them to use – Money.
For too long now we have seen Newcastle make mediocre bids, often under half of a club’s asking price, in an effort to gain (if we’re being honest) maximum profit for any inevitable future sale.
However, their behaviour, more often than not, insults the club they are negotiating with, which leads them to openly criticise Newcastle and their derisory offer in the media, leaving the predictable scenario of other clubs becoming aware of the position and a player’s availability.
Those other clubs then make a sensible offer, and they sign a player in a deal that we did all of the groundwork for them.
With the state of our club and the desperate need for us to make a positive statement of intent, the only viable option for the club is to make decent offers to potential selling clubs, offer any potential signing a lucrative contract, which includes a sizeable signing-on fee, a competitive salary (in footballing terms I mean), incentives for success and give them real, believable assurances that we will be competitive.
I know that often this scenario can lead to a mercenary signing, like that of Michael Owen, but in the present position we find ourselves in, do we have any other choice?
Clubs that were once considered a step down from us, the likes of Crystal Palace, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham (not to be disrespectful to them), are now soaring ahead of us, because they know how to treat players and clubs honourably.
Do Charnley and Co really think that offering Charlie Austin the number nine shirt at Newcastle will make him turn down other clubs who are offering better contracts? It won’t.
Unfortunately, money speaks loudest of all in football. The Alan Shearers, Steven Gerrards and Jamie Carraghers are very much the exception to the rule.
Newcastle United’s hierarchy must swallow their pride, and reform their business model. They must offer the going rate, and maybe even a bit more, to the players they want. They must treat other clubs with the dignity that they expect to receive from them.
The time for coy negotiating and haggling is over. We need to act now, as other clubs are. Players that we are supposedly interested in are going elsewhere, while we continue to try and shave a few quid off the quoted price.
Signings breed signings and until we get the first one or two through the door, we will struggle to make anyone believe in us.
The situation is in danger of spiralling out of our grasp, we will again be left to watch on as, week after week, players that could and should have been playing for us, are instead hammering another nail into the Newcastle United coffin.