Today looks as though it is going to be Newcastle transfer D-Day.
That doesn’t mean I think we are sure to sign anybody but it does look as though we have a number of factors coming together, that will see certain players making their decisions.
How strongly Newcastle are in for the players is of course purely speculation, though the sheer weight of it, and some looking more credible (possibly…) than the norm, leads me to believe that if they are going to happen then it will be today or never.
With Mike Ashley we do of course deal in extrene behaviour and as was shown two summers ago when Newcastle bought not a single player, he could also easily repeat that behaviour, no matter how little sense it would make to the rest of us.
Yesterday though brought to the boil long-term Newcastle (largely media-led) ‘interest’ in two players, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and playmaker Georginio Wijnaldum.
Lee Charnley was widely reported as having been in Holland on Tuesday to discuss a deal and as of late last night, the story remains that Georginio Wijnaldum will travel to England and discuss terms today.
With the two clubs said to be in the same ballpark area for the transfer fee, though there was a suggestion that Everton are now also interested in the player.
In Aleksandar Mitrovic’ case, Newcastle have been credited with an interest in him for a considerable time. According to the Italian media last night, his first choice club AS Roma had decided not to match the fee that Anderlecht were demanding and the striker is also due in England today to discuss a move with Newcastle. Once again, Newcastle are said to have agreed a transfer fee with the Belgian club.
Both deals are said to be costing at least £11.5m each in transfer fees, an acceptance by Mike Ashley of what decent players cost, if indeed everything stacks up and the deals happen.
I don’t claim to have inside knowledge but with Newcastle flying off at the weekend for their US trip and PSV due to go to Switzerland today for their pre season, plus Mitrovic’ drawn out transfer saga definitely looking to come to an end (wherever he ends up) – I do think this is make or break with these deals.
With Newcastle seemingly having no interest in Yohan Cabaye who looks to be signing for Crystal Palace and Charlie Austin apparently too rich for Mike Ashley’s tastes.
It would be realistic to think that if Newcastle were ever going to land talked about players, then they would be from the likes of the weaker Dutch/Belgian leagues and not players from the Premier League (Austin) or who have proved themselves previously in the PL (Cabaye).
Instantly, Newcastle can offer the likes of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum much higher wages and of course that foothold into the Premier League.
With most supporters believing that a key part of any negotiations for such players, will include dangling a carrot of Newcastle United being sold as a stepping stone towards a ‘bigger’ PL club if they show enough at St James Park.
Everything else is quiet and even links to new ‘transfer targets’ have dried up.
For Newcastle to get the level of players who could allow them to bounce back next season, it was never going to happen via signing total unknowns. Which meant that going for decent players was always going to put the potential deals in the public domain, as the selling clubs looked to spark interest elsewhere and a higher price.
With only four weeks until the start of the season and over a week of pre season training already gone by, today is looking a real d-day for transfer and the possibilities for next season.
IF, and I still see it as a big IF, both Wijnaldum and Mitrovic travel with or join the Newcastle squad in America then it gives us all hope. They would still have to adapt to the Premier League but in terms of creativity and goalscoring they go a long way to ticking the boxes.
On the other hand, if everything fades away in the next day or so and only the current set of players tour America, the writing is really on the wall.
Just over two weeks of pre season will remain when they return and it would be Mike Ashley’s biggest gamble yet if he allows this squad of players to stumble into the new season without major investment.
Hopefully today will prove a lot more interesting than the other 45 days that have passed since the near disaster of last season came to an eventual end.