The summer transfer window – who has done the best business, Newcastle or Sunderland?
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As no doubt all of you in the black and white corner know, Newcastle have so far signed:
Aleksandar Mitrovic (20 year old striker)
Georginio Wijnaldum (24 year old midfielder)
Chancel Mbemba (20 year old central defender)
Whilst in the red and white corner they have bought:
Sebastian Coates (24 year old central defender)
Younes Kaboul (29 year old central defender)
Adam Matthews (23 year old right back)
Jeremain Lens (27 year old striker)
If I asked you what the difference was between the two lots of players, then no doubt a lot of you would feel obliged to say the last four named are rubbish.
I think though that the main difference is that Sunderland have gone for players who already have experience in the Premier League in the case of Kaboul and Coates, whilst Matthews has played for Cardiff and Celtic at a lower level than the EPL, as well as picking up a dozen caps for Wales.
With Lens you have to accept that they have signed a player with pedigree, a current Dutch international who is a credible addition to the Premier League.
I’m not sucking up to the mackems but Mike Ashley has notably once again exclusively gone for players from abroad, with seemingly little desire to push the boat out (financially/no big potential increase in value) for a Charlie Austin or similar with EPL experience.
Bringing in three players from weaker leagues abroad is asking a lot for them to produce straight away, so are Newcastle possibly taking a short-term risk for long-terms gains?
Obviously you don’t find out until they are regularly playing, but I do think Newcastle are clearly out in front at the minute in terms of the signings, especially what the players can potentially do over the next few seasons and not just the next 10 months.
However, what is also clear, is that Sunderland are actively trying to bring in more signings whilst it is looking increasingly likely that this is our lot.
The mackems have turned down the chance yesterday to take Leroy Fer on loan because he won’t be fit for the start of the season, I think he’s a very good midfielder and somebody who also has two years Premier League experience.
Reportedly, they are now though on the brink of bringing in 20 year old Belgian international winger Adnan Januzaj on loan from Manchester United and clearly he is an exciting player if rediscovering his early Man Utd form with regular football.
They are also said to be in the process of buying 25 year old French international (22 caps) midfielder Yann M’Vila from Rubin Kazan.
I hate to say it but if they do land a couple more signings such as that pair, then they will have strengthened more for the new season than Newcastle have.
United’s signings do look full of promise but there just aren’t enough of them.
It is easy for some to forget just how bad Newcastle were last season and the problems they had at both ends of the pitch.The reality is that not only are players such as Obertan, Williamson, Anita and Taylor still at the club, but they are almost certain to all start on Sunday against Southampton.
Players who have been there, seen it, done it in the Premier League are invaluable and would give Newcastle a massive insurance against potential problems, something which simply having to rely on three players new to the Premier League could possibly bring.
On the signings front I would say so far so good but just like Sunderland are doing, Mike Ashley has to accept the scale of the problems in United’s squad after last season’s near disaster and allow money to be spent on at least two more proven players.