After finishing fifth back in 2011/12 Newcastle United could have cemented a place in the top seven with only three first team signings.
Moving forward four years and it is transparent that Newcastle are in a very different place.
It isn’t that all is lost, it is just that rather than tinkering under the bonnet and adding a bit of oomph to the engine, United now need a serious amount of work done that would have any mechanic shaking his head as he thought up a price he could get away with.
Reading between the lines, the message(s) being pumped out of the club now, appear to be that it is quality not quantity that Newcastle are going for.
Nothing wrong with that but Mike Ashley and his people seemingly see two or three as the number needed to help put Newcastle right, no doubt counting Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow as ‘new’ signings after completing their year back on loan at Nottingham Forest.
Whilst Wijnaldum is of course somebody who looks the part, he can’t do it on his own – as Ronald de Boer so ‘eloquently’ made the point in quotes this week.
A look at the Newcastle squad which is touring America, will surely remind us all that the nightmare of last season has most definitely not left us as yet.
This is not to say that NUFC are doomed to failure if no further players aren’t brought in, rather that the margins are incredibly tight and once again we have little insurance if anything goes wrong.
A defeat to Club Atlas and only a penalty the difference with Gateshead, if injury struck both Papiss Cisse and Georginio Wijnaldum then what would be Plan B?
Newcastle and Mike Ashley got out of jail last season largely due to the unexpected impact of Ayoze Perez from the Spanish second tier – it won’t be a cunning plan to take it as read that he can repeat that if everything goes pear-shaped this time .He will have enough on his plate dealing with what is sure to be a difficult second season.
Some players, without naming names, who have gone to America are clearly not good enough for the Premier League, though on the other hand it does look as though United have players who with better players alongside them will look far better players themselves.
Buying quality can help improve those around them, whereas if you leave the same old bodies in the squad then you run the risk of dragging down quality players such as Wijnaldum, Janmaat and others.
Let’s hope that Wijnaldum wasn’t just the result of a freak bang on the head for Mike Ashley.