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Jermaine Jenas explains why Mike Ashley’s transfer strategy is ‘crazy’

5 years ago

Jermaine Jenas thinks that Mike Ashley’s transfer strategy at St James Park is ‘crazy’.

The former Newcastle and England midfielder believes that the massive problem with the way United operate isn’t necessarily the talent of the players brought in, rather it is the fact that there is no balance to what they do.

Jenas says that Gini Wijnaldum has been a great buy but that when you bring in so many players who are unknown quantities in the Premier League, you are almost certain to run into problems if you are expecting them all to perform, especially in the short-term.

Newcastle only survived for sure on the last day of the season in May, with the 2-0 defeat of West Ham.

Despite this, Mike Ashley insisted that the focus should be on young players from abroad who could increase in value.

Expecting this set of players to instantly cure all United’s problems was hopeful in the extreme, with two 20 year olds (Mitrovic and Mbemba), a 22 year old (Thauvin) and a 24 year old (Wijnaldum) arriving, as well as 19 year old Ivan Toney from League Two.

Maybe no surprise that the oldest and most experienced player of the five, Gini Wijnaldum, has had the most positive impact so far this season.

As Jermaine Jenas points out, the only two first team players recruited by Newcastle from the Premier League in recent times are Demba Ba and Jack Colback.

With no surprise that the two were signed because they were also seen as bargains, with Colback out of contract and Ba having a free transfer release clause if West Ham were relegated, which they were.

Jermaine Jenas talking to Yahoo Sport:

‘Unfortunately for Newcastle, their other summer signings have not been nearly as successful (as Wijnaldum).

The biggest flaw in the club’s recruitment policy is not the standard of players they have signed, but the balance.

Every year, they seem to go crazy bringing in players from here, there and everywhere – especially the French league – but they don’t recruit players with Premier League experience.

In the past five years, Jack Colback from Sunderland and Demba Ba from West Ham are about the only exceptions to this rule.

Plundering the European leagues works for them sometimes, like in Wijnaldum’s case, but if you sign too many unproven players it can start to get silly. That’s because you’re asking these players to immediately hit the ground running, and it’s simply not as easy as that.

There are so many other factors to consider. A player’s family might not settle, and the effect on their home life can spill into their professional life. Plus they don’t know the league, so the footballing side is also totally different.

Newcastle should mix and match the type of players they sign. For example, there’s nothing wrong with buying a player like Florian Thauvin as someone who may make a long-term impact. But in that case, I’d prefer them to have signed Charlie Austin rather than Aleksandar Mitrovic, another talented but unproven player. Where’s the balance?’


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