Rob Lee was arguably Kevin Keegan’s greatest signing for Newcastle United.

The United Manager persuading the Charlton midfielder to sign for second tier Newcastle rather than Premier League Middlesbrough.

For £700,000, Keegan and Newcastle got 10 years of brilliant service from a very talented player who played right wing, then switched to being an attacking central midfielder, before ending his NUFC career as a holding midfielder.

Rob Lee went on to play for England and at one point Kevin Keegan declared that he was the best midfielder in the Premier League – he wasn’t wrong.

However, 25 years on (where did that time go…?) from Lee signing for Newcastle, what does £700,000 get you?

Rob Lee believes that the reality is that Rafa has done a great job and needed £10m signings such as Ritchie and Gayle to achieve that.

However, now is the time for those kind of transfer fees to be doubled or even trebled if Newcastle are to even have a chance of competing for mid-table, according to the Newcastle legend.

Times have moved on – Everton spent just under £30m in summer 2015 on Lukaku and he is top scorer in the Premier League, whilst Crystal Palace spent £30m on Benteke last summer and his goals at the weekend against Liverpool look to have secured their top flight safety.

Newcastle’s recent accounts showed that Rafa Benitez made a £40m transfer profit on ins and outs last summer, then with Thauvin leaving this summer for £10m and other players sure to also be sold as the Manager recycles his squad for a Premier League campaign, plus of course the return of PL TV funds, there will be no excuse for Mike Ashley not backing his Manager.

That is of course if the NUFC owner is really determined to keep him…

Rob Lee speaking to Sky Sports:

“Rafa will enjoy this but he will have one eye on…will he be able to do what he wants to do with the club? That will be the big thing.

“I’d like to think Mike Ashley and the board will back Rafa Benitez.

“We have been through a few managers recently and we have got a manager here that the fans love, that is very good at his job, and you allow him to pick who he wants to pick.

“In January they wouldn’t give him any money to bolster the squad and you saw a few cracks there.

“In his interview (after beating Preston)  he said, ‘Let’s have a look in the summer’.

“His stock now is huge. He just took Newcastle back to the Premier League so if Newcastle don’t give him what he wants, there will be plenty of clubs that will.

“Next year they won’t be able to balance the books, they have to spend big.

Newcastle have to spend the majority of the money they get on players.

“Mike Ashley has backed him with £10m players but you have to look at £20m and £30m players now to bolster that squad and even get you into that mid-table.”

  • Geordiegiants

    I personally think Keegans best ever signing was Killer, he alone kept us out of the third tier. Anyway back to the matter in hand, what everyone doesnt seem to realise is Ashley and his minnions have spent/wasted million in the last few seasons. He does spend money, the problem is it has mostly been on shight players.

    • Alex

      You’re only half right. He spends money, but only with an eye on delivering an investment return, not delivering any progress on the pitch. That strategy hasn’t worked well.

      The money is there in the EPL to make these bids, so everything is now down to what Ashley really wants.

      • Geordiegiants

        I’m fully aware that it’s on investment players, never the less he has spent. The thing is even they have been shight, that and the mangers have been sub standard pretenders.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The Fat lad would throw up if you asked him to lay out £30m for a player

    3 Dvd`s for a tenna, 3 pairs of socks £2.99, spend 30 quid & you get a free Sports Direct Mug
    that`s his game shop keeping NOT football

  • DubaiExpat

    Playing devils advocate the decision (or gamble) not to spend in January could be viewed as a reasonable given we’ve achieved the stated aim of promotion and can now concentrate on spending that money on PL quality players.

    That assumes of course that Ashley now gives Rafa the cash he need to build a competitive PL squad,

    • Geordiegiants

      I get where your coming from, but he shouldn’t of gambled we needed a dead cert. Any players that Rafa earmarked in the winter would of been premier league standard anyway.

    • Leazes Ender

      Why would anyone make an assumption that Ashley would spend the type of money to see the club in one of the elite group places…. he spends enough to get to mid table and plays Russian roulette with the club….. he shoots himself in the foot time and again.

      You have to laugh at people who keep saying maybe this time he’s learned his lesson… No….

      Charnley has cost him two relegations to the tune of £40m and £60m and that’s a lot….. and Charnley is still there.

      • Jezza

        I don’t think Ashley has learned anything and nothing is going to change now. 20 previous transfer windows under the fat one and a net spend in maybe two or possibly three at the most, breaking even and mostly big profits in the rest. That precedent makes it seem obvious there will be no money for new signings in the summer other than at best what ever the club can scrape together from player sales.

        • Leazes Ender

          Maybe S**** D****t will pay up for ten years of free advertising and the club will get back to the top tier….

          Maybe Ashleys will fly.

      • Albert Stubbins

        to realistically compete in the top 6 your looking at a spend of upwards of 200 million at least and lets be honest that isnt going to happen but I believe as many clearly do, that Rafa is one of the few managers who can attract decent players for a reasonable price and build a team- incrementally. Its not going to happen over night- 4 or possibly 5 years but it could happen if the money is spent wisely.Of course he isnt going to be given funds like Mouriniho or Pep and I wouldnt want that to be honest but I believe in Rafas capeability of building a great team that we can all be proud of without breaking the bank. Lets not expect miracles- the days of finishing third the first season back are long gone but gradual sustained improvement is not beyond the realms of possibility with the current set up. In Rafa I trust.

  • Leazes Ender

    The first thing to do is get shot of Lee Charnley…. and appoint a Chairman who likes football and has the club at heart…. not his annual bonus scheme!

    The second thing to do is…..ehm…. whatever Rafa says!

    • Albert Stubbins

      For some reason Rafa seems to like Charnley- For the life of me I don’t know why.

      • Leazes Ender

        They both have homes in the Wirral and are Liverpool fans at heart…. lots in common.

  • Doug Dacre

    Sorry Rob, Don’t agree….You can keep your crying, diving primo’s….We need to bring in the best players players from the Championship who are hungry to prove how good they are…..Err, just like when we signed you from Charlton.
    In Rafa We Trust…

  • Leazes Ender

    Rob is absolutely correct…..

  • Salty

    It’s not replacing the £10m players that will be the issue, it will be replacing likes of Gouff, Lascelles, Anita, Perez. Although we didn’t in the end spend in January we had by all accounts offered £16m for McCarthy and made firm enquiry about cairney and I expect we will go back for one or both. When we went up under KK our best signings were Lee, Cole and Beardsley, not exactly mega bucks signings. Everton haven’t done too badly in recent years and they had a back 4 built on Coleman (£60k) and jagielka/ LeScott who were bought out of the championship and lukaku on loan for 2 seasons before they bought him. There’s deals out there to make us competitive. And whatever happens I know we will be stronger than Brighton and whoever comes up through the play offs.

    • Leazes Ender

      Its an allegorical statement not a diktat to an accountant.

    • Jimblag23

      I remember that half French half Scottish CB from Everton.

  • 1957

    We need a balance between quality, experienced players and young players with potential from lower leagues in the absence of any real talent coming through the ranks.

    • Alan Rowbotham

      Need some older players, reliable and consistent to follow the game plan, we need to clear out more players than can come in, then we can bring in few young players that won’t get their chance at top 6 teams aswell

      • Albert Stubbins

        Rush and Barnes and Pedro. How old is David Kelly now? he could still do a job.

  • Sid James

    This summers going to be a right Carry On

    • Leazes Ender

      You can say that again and probably will.

  • Blackburn1066

    Raffa would just tell you we have two games to go then we can look at the Prem.

  • toonterrier

    A better plan would be for Ashley to sell the club to someone with an interest in football and not just a way of filling his coffers. No doubt if he stays on we will be back in France looking for cheapies to sell on for a profit..

  • MadMag83

    Spending for the sake of it isn’t the answer, Spurs spent £30m last summer on some waster called Sissoko! What’s needed is the right players for the areas we need strengthening, not big money mercenaries or cheap imports who don’t fit in with tactics or improve the squad.

  • Burt Humperdink

    Weird thing is in the two seasons where he spent a bit of money we were in relegation battles and got relegated. We don’t want to start spending double figure millions on alleged foreign stars only to have them turn up when they feel like it and then do better at their next foreign club i.e Thauvin, De Jong, Wjinaldum.

    I would prefer 1 or 2 experienced prem players then pick up 2 or 3 good championship players. Shawcross, Cairney and the left back from Leeds would be a good start.

    • Leazes Ender

      No…they only spent after the catastrophe of underspending sent us into freefall plonker!

  • Wor Monga

    We’ve seen some good players this season in the Championship, and only one of the clubs entering the play-offs will be promoted so I’d think Rafa will be looking very closely in that direction for players in the £10M bracket…Obviously good players with PL or La Liga experience will be at the top of his shopping list…to strengthen the defence, and provide strength, pace, and goals in attack and midfield (eg possibly names such as Shawcross, Townsend etc)…

    …Clearing spaces in the squad will be his first priority, and I think that would include players at the end of their contracts who haven’t been offered extensions, and also players who haven’t been able to enter into his plans or command regular spots, in the first team…

    …very few clubs outside of the top 6 have bought players in the £20M plus bracket, and some may have bought one (like C Palace) after selling their own player for big money first, but it’s a fallacy to think that all of the squads at the PL clubs are made up of the class of player that are much better than many of those that have done magnificently for us, this season…

    • Mark Scott

      Yeah I thought that too – we need to bolster squad options if nothing else and plenty of the players in the Championship could do that and probably improve certain first team positions also. Chances are they would be pricey though and not give value for money. I expect some continental shopping again.

  • Jimblag23

    Off the top of my head would be good business thanks mike.

    • Albert Stubbins

      off the top of your head- imagine what Rafa will be able to bring in off the top of his?

  • Andy Mac

    As I’ve said elsewhere there’s no need for this £30m player BS because what we should be looking for is the Mahrez, Kante type of deal and player. We’ve had some good buys in the past that didnt cost the earth like Cabs, Ba and even HBA. This summer is more about buying clever rather than buying big.

    • Jimblag23

      But I think if we identify a player who fits the mouldy Rafa wants we should be willing to spend a bit.

  • Mark Scott

    Don’t get carried away with the money issues of incoming and outgoings – it has been speculated that while we are forking out cash-in-hand up front deals for incoming players, we are still accepting instalment plan payments for outgoing ones…so the books are a bit more cloudy than we think (intentional?? who knows).
    The big money deals tend to be for established Premiership players or players going to clubs that have the money to burn. There are still reasonable amounts of money spent on very good players and as long as we can find those I am sure Rafa can get the best out of them (or even get us playing above the level of our players – which I believe he has done this season).
    I expect a lot of transfer market wheeling and dealing (assuming Rafa stays and is given money to work with – probably not mutually exclusive) and wouldn’t be surprised to see an equal number of incoming and outgoing players that we saw last summer as Rafa continues to replace dead wood with better players and continue the squad rebuild!

  • Leazes Ender

    What do you get for £10 million these days…. an Ameobi?

  • nevfur

    Reading Rafas comments the other day about this seasons squad he talked about experience. I expect signings wise for next season he will be looking for players with PL experience primarily to strengthen and supplement the best of what we already have. With a few squad players from the championship and abroad sprinkled in to hopefully develop and add something different whilst providing back up also. Some of the names mentioned so far such as Shawcross might not be accurate but are likely to be the type of signing we go for.
    Prices to get players to establish yourself don’t all have to be in the £30M region. As someone else on here said, you don’t have to buy big you have to buy clever. Hopefully we now have someone in Rafa clever enough to do that although at least a couple of biggish signings would be preferable too and more exciting for everyone.
    It’s going to be an interesting summer.