It isn’t just the price tags that make the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic a change from the norm, I think it is also important looking at the number of international caps they’ve won.

Mitrovic has already picked up 13 senior caps for Serbia despite still being only 20 years of age, whilst Wijnaldum has 20 for Holland and he’s 24.

(To feature like Dean, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

These are the signings of the past four years who had 10 or more international caps when they signed for Newcastle United, their age and then the number of caps in brackets when arriving at St James Park:

20 (13) Aleksandar Mitrovic

24 (20) Georginio Wijnaldum

24 (22) Daryl Janmaat

27 (13) Mathieu Debuchy

26 (11) Demba Ba

26 (10+) Papiss Cisse

I think it is fair to say that the other four on this list have all proved to be a success for Newcastle, both Debuchy and Janmaat arguably the player of the season in the last two years, whilst both Ba and Cisse (difficult to find stats of exactly when he won each of his 30+ Senegal Caps but definitely in double figures when he signed for NUFC) have the goals to put on the table to prove their worth.

Playing for your country isn’t everything but a bit like going for a job interview I think it is a massive reference when your country rates you so highly.

These are the other signings Newcastle have made in this period, with again, age and then number of caps in brackets at the point they signed for Newcastle:

20 (0) Jamaal Lascelles

23 (0) Karl Darlow

24 (0) Emmanuel Riviere

24 (0) Jack Colback

24 (1) Remy Cabella

20 (0) Ayoze Perez

25 (6) Siem de Jong

23 (1) Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

26 (0) Yoan Gouffran

20 (0) Massadio Haidara

22 (5) Moussa Sissoko

23 (2) Vurnon Anita

20 (7) Davide Santon

25 (3) Yohan Cabaye

25 (0) Sylvain Marveaux

22 (0) Gabriel Obertan

25 (0) Rob Elliot

Obviously the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko prove that you can be up to standard without having loads of caps behind you, whilst others such as Ayoze Perez would have been an unlikely signing for NUFC if he had already been playing for Spain before he was 20 years of age.

However, I think there is a big general divide when buying established players, especially from other countries, when it comes to whether they are also playing international football.

Last summer I looked at 24 year old Daryl Janmaat with 22 caps and first choice for Holland out in Brazil, I thought he looks a great signing.

Newcastle desperate for a quality striker and we buy 24 year old Emmanuel Riviere who has never even been called up by France before and I thought hmmm.


To be honest I wasn’t that enamoured with Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong either when I looked at their international record.

Remember, Newcastle need players who can perform in the top half of the Premier League and these two signings were supposedly the ones who would do the really difficult job of creating and scoring goals.

When they signed, Cabella was 24 and had 10 minutes of substitute action under his belt for France, whilst Siem de Jong was 25 and had appeared 6 times for the Netherlands, though only 4 minutes in a competitive game – the other five appearances in friendlies.

Jack Colback is not my favourite player but when he signed he’d already shown he was a steady Premier League performer, so we knew what we were getting despite his zero caps.

When we buy players from abroad then what else have we really to go on, other than stats and youtube clips which by their very nature show players doing something decent.

Therefore, you’d be daft if you didn’t look at what they had done for their countries and whether the national set-up rate them.

Obertan, Marveaux, Anita and Gouffran had two caps between them when they arrived and now after 15 years between them at Newcastle they still only have Vurnon Anita’s two international caps between them.

Only quality will drag Newcastle out of the mess that Mike Ashley has dragged us into by under investing in the squad for years AND wasting a relative fortune on budget cheaper foreign players who clearly didn’t have the right credentials.

As well as what they have done in league football, both Wijnaldum and Mitrovic have the international caps that suggests they are going to be stars in the years to come.

Imminent signing Chancel Mbemba is also already a regular for DR Congo despite being only 20.

These type of signings suggest Mike Ashley has learnt his lesson but more are needed to fix the damage done, both in this transfer window and the ones to come.

The four friendlies so far have been against low quality opposition and yet the results and performances have shown that the same problems are still there at both ends of the pitch.

Wijnaldum and Mitrovic can be a big part of the solution but they can’t do it alone, more international quality players are needed – and fast.

  • LeazesEnder

    These type of signings suggest Mike Ashley has had a hell of a shock with near relegation and a substantial season ticket walk out….

  • wor monga

    LeazesEnder         More likely the shock of relegation…and what could amount to
    a disastrous loss of his huge TV bonanza!!

  • wor monga

    “When we buy
    players from abroad then what else have we really to go on, other than stats
    and youtube clips”…

    …when you, and Denis Wise buy players from abroad you might
    use that method,Dean, but the NUFC use the extensive overseas scouting knowledge of
    Graham Carr, and seeing what is happening at the moment it’s clear that over
    the years Ashley’s financial policy never helped him to close deals with some
    of his first choices.

    …Obviously those who play regularly at international
    level for their nations are more likely to be better than those who haven’t
    played… no argument there. The thing is most of those players also were priced
    well above the club’s price limit (hadn’t you noticed that minor detail?), and
    also for some (strange) reason they usually seemed to prefer the clubs that were
    playing in the CL, and prepared to pay them the mega-wages.
    …Carr found some excellent players and signed them
    considering the constraints he was working under…the problem was keeping them
    when the big clubs (CL) came sniffing, and then not being allowed to replace
    them with similar quality players because they cost more than limit Ashley had imposed!!

  • ArtyH

    Time for some positivity lads, I know, I have been a doom sayer for the past few years, but you have to look forward. IMHO if we sign Mbemba and another CB or Austin I would be very happy with the situation. Also now Ashley says we are in a Very healthy state financially, and backs that up with new signings every window equivalent to other clubs in the lower tear ( mid table ), and commensurate with EPL payouts, I could live with that. Also I would even accept S*&te Direct on our strip as opposed to what is on now and the equivalent payment from them, might as well get paid for the advertising around the ground! Would not forgive him for the last 8 years but if he continues on with running the club properly, for the fans, i would be happy with that. and in time who knows…..well we’ll cross that bridge, eh….

  • toon tony

    Things are looking up. After last season’s debacle it looked like we needed a complete overhaul, 6 , 8 , 10, 11 players were mentioned. So far only 3 signings have been made but they look like they have some quality. Any signing is a risk but if you want quality you have to pay top dollar. Oh and we don’t have John Carver. !!!!

  • v0ices

    wor monga LeazesEnder Will you and the Ashley appologists stop suggesting ticket and match day revenue is insignificant as its a huge part of the clubs income especially with all the missing commercial revenue. If ashley didnt make money on punters through the door he would have the team playing in a empty ground.

  • Jievo

    Caps is an interesting angle on this, but be mindful of reading too much into any statistic – Mbemba looks a class act, for example, I like what I’m hearing but I’d be lying if I said I’d heard of him before we were linked, and with all due respect, caps for DR Congo are not equal to caps for France or Holland. I think in almost any league, team of the year places show something, but at the end of the day any signing has to be looked at through all available lenses – statistics, strengths/weaknesses, caps, experience, role in the previous club or league, and of course a certain level of trust has to be given to the scouts involved. And even with all those methods of pre judging a player, there’s a massive element of luck, and we won’t know what will happen til it happens. Would ANYBODY in their right mind have predicted Soldado to flop so spectacularly in the Premier League, to give one example?

  • Chemical Dave

    Absolutely spot in leazesender, must really stick in this mong blokes throat .

  • Chemical Dave

    Carr has bought more terrible players than good ones, have you seen the emperor’s new clothes ?

  • I think it was a good article Dean. It seems from reading it, that you may just be buying into what has been done so far this window. :) A nice change from many of the doom gloom articles of the recent years from many contributors. Well done.

  • NottsToon

    wor monga LeazesEnder To imply that match day revenue is somehow unimportant is completely ridiculous. Imagine a Premier League club playing in a half empty stadium, or if you have no imagination take a look down the road.

  • wor monga

    NottsToon       What’s imagination got to do with anything…of course
    the ticket money is important…it’s vital if you are not in the PL…but it’s not
    as important as the share of the TV money, each year. The club could still run ok
    with fewer supporters in the ground, and many would pay on the day, etc…

    …I haven’t seen anything to say how many have decided
    to renew, and maybe the club will have to run with less ST holders…but it will
    still run ok if it stays in the PL

  • v0ices

    wor monga NottsToon but it wouldnt be ok for ashley would it without that money he would have to do things like charge for in ground advertising and allow procedes from club merchanding to enter the clubs coffers not sports directs just to maintain a team capable of staying in the premier league.

  • wor monga

    Chemical Dave       Read it again slowly toxic, and you might see why!!…and
    no, I haven’t seen ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’!…why,who’s in it?

  • NottsToon

    wor monga NottsToon The importance of fans in the ground runs much deeper than the financial as you well know but choose to ignore.

  • wor monga

    NottsToon       Of course fans in the ground are important, but the PL
    is run primarily for a Worldwide TV audience, and the mega-millions that the TV pumps
    into the clubs, and the TV audiences are not interested in the crowd…only the
    action and the results…demos, and empty seats mean very little to their viewers
    in China, India etc,etc…

    …I only ignore  the abuse from you and your

  • NottsToon

    wor monga NottsToon What a ridiculous comment, if the stadium was almost empty of course it would have a much deeper bearing for club, it would show that fans are not happy with a sub standard product and that would be seen by the entire world.

    What would the reaction be if Wimbledon was played in almost empty courts, or the olympics in empty stadiums? Do you not think it would deliver a message that people are losing interest?

    We are not talking finance here, we are talking the importance of the crowd, which last year was an embarrassing silent mass for the entire second half of the season seen by the entire world and commented on by visiting fans, commentators and seen by your precious TV audiences.

    Ask your mate Ashley if he thinks it’s important.

  • NottsToon

    wor monga NottsToon And if you want me to answer for him, he obviously finds it extremely important owing to the amount of desperate pleas their were for season ticket renewals not so long back.

  • Chemical Dave

    You’d enjoy it, the rest of the audience didn’t and got up and left but you stayed till the end just so you could say you’re the best viewer they’ve ever had.

  • Andgeo

    Where’s carver???