Whilst Newcastle United were unveiling (behind closed doors!) Steve McClaren on Wednesday afternoon, Swansea City were completing the signing of Andre Ayew on a four year contract.
Newcastle had long been credited with an interest as the player ran down his contract and was going to be available on a free.
It was a signing that looked right up Mike Ashley’s street, a skilful versatile player who can play right across the frontline as well as behind the main striker, available with no transfer fee and at the age of 25 he has that all important resale value.
Only yesterday this background info on the winger/striker appeared on The Mag:
‘No wonder Swansea are keen to pay the price for the Ghanaian star, a record of 44 goals in 141 Ligue 1 starts over the last 5 years is impressive, as is the countless assists he has chalked up as well.
Ayew has scored 60 goals in a total of 177 starts in all competitions in those last five years at Marseille, plus has played Champions League football in four of the five.’
Yet days before Swansea completed Ayew’s signing, journalists close to the Mike Ashley regime put out the message that Newcastle didn’t compete for his signature because he didn’t represent ‘value for money’.
Which clearly refers to the player wanting too much in wages.
The question now is, will the players that Newcastle United actually do bring in, prove to have more ability and influence on the pitch next season than Andre Ayew?
Will the signings Newcastle fans expect to see shortly, convince them that Mike Ashley is indeed now going to show ambition?
At the moment Fabricio Coloccini is by far Newcastle United’s biggest wage earner but recent years have seen Ashley and the club put a ceiling on what any other new player earns.
Whilst we all know football players earn crazy amounts these days, the reality is that if you don’t pay the price tag, in transfer fee and/or wages, then they will go elsewere, as appears to have happened with Andre Ayew.
We are led to expect that Mike Ashley has made a U-turn and players such as Charlie Austin and other players proven in the Premier League, are in Newcastle’s sights.
Credible players, especially those who score goals, won’t come cheap and so the big question must be, whether Mike Ashley is now changing his strategy on wages and is going to allow a higher level than allowed in recent years.
If the answer is no, then surely players such as Charlie Austin are non-starters.
If the answer is yes, then we can all just hope that Newcastle United are still seen as a credible club which is potentially capable of fulfilling the ambitions of both potential signings, as well as those of the fans.
After watching Swansea sign the likes of Bony, Gomis and now Ayew, as Newcastle refused to pay what it would have taken to land them. We now all wait to see if the lessons of relying on budget players (or no new players in a number of transfer windows) such as Riviere, Ferreyra and Gouffran has been learnt.