It seems everywhere Newcastle fans look right now, there is a football pundit saying Newcastle “need to spend” over £100m (£150m in the case of Alan Shearer) just to tread water in the Premier League.

It’s no wonder prices are hugely inflated when so-called experts are coming out with these kind of statements.

A perfect example of just how ridiculous these claims are is Paul Pogba. Is he any better than Danny Drinkwater was last season in terms of consistency? Pogba of course has bags of talent and certainly looks the part – but is he really worth £70m more than Drinkwater when judged on stats alone? My point being, by shopping around, Manchester Utd could have spent a fraction of that £90m and brought in a player with similar performance stats. (Maybe Drinkwater is a bad example but stick with me…)

I spent some time researching player contracts and came across some interesting details. Whilst these figures are not exact, they are not far off at all based on the latest stats on fees and contracts. I found some fantastic experienced international players with Premier League experience, and a few with plenty of years ahead of them, to add to the best of last season’s squad.

Now before people jump down my throat and call me nasty names, this article is purely about questioning the need for £150m.

However, I feel a lot of these deals would be achievable and without breaking the bank at all, a good top 10 side could be built.

So, take a look and see what you think…

Possible Targets.

LB Charlie Taylor

Age 23, Leeds Utd. The very highly rated young left full-back will become a free agent this summer and there will be competition for his signature for sure, but with two left full-backs possibly needed to replace both Haidara and Lazaar, signing Taylor for free could be a great piece of business. FREE

CF Mario Balotelli

Age 26, OGC Nice. The enigmatic frontman is available on a free transfer this summer with no new contract signed as yet and what a back page this signing would be! Strong, quick, powerful, skilful and creative on his day but it depends on which Balotelli turns up. It’s got to be worth a look though, surely? If ever Newcastle are going to find another Tino Asprilla, it can only be Mario. It could be an absolute masterstroke! FREE

DM Lucas Leiva

Age 30, Liverpool. A no-brainer of a signing and one Rafa must surely be looking at given the lack of experience in midfield. Very assured player who protects the back four and does the dirty work, whilst also possessing excellent passing ability. A new captain maybe? Trusted by Benitez and the respect is mutual. FREE

CF Andy Carroll

Age 28, West Ham. Plagued by injuries throughout his career but when Carroll is fit, there is no doubting what he could bring to the table. Fit, and on form, Carroll is every bit a £20m player but whilst currently out of favour at West Ham and struggling for game time, now could be the time to strike to get a good deal. The perfect replacement for Daryl Murphy who would take no settling in period. Still only 28 and with a full pre-season ahead, it could be the perfect moment to bring him back. Price £8m/10m

CB Ryan Shawcross

Age 29, Stoke City. With his contract set to expire next summer, Shawcross is rumoured to be seeking a fresh challenge. It’s very possible Stoke play hard-ball and let him run out his contract but all the signs are that the player will move on to pastures new. There will be a lot of other clubs interested.

Shawcross has been consistently one of the best central defenders in the Premier League for what seems like 20 years, yet at 29 he is only just reaching his peak as a defender, with every chance of more international caps in the future. The club’s current record transfer fee would most definitely have to be broken, but in terms of reliability, this would be a signing to guarantee a solid back line with consistent performances. Much less risky than Mangala at £16m-20m.

RW Arjen Robben

Age 33, Bayern Munich. With Robben’s contract set to expire next summer and Rafa looking for some top quality experience this could be the headline signing. Even at 33 Robben has outrageous acceleration and is a constant menace to defenders with quick feet, ability to play on both flanks or as a second striker, and a very sharp footballing brain he would certainly be useful as we look to consolidate back in the Premier League. Will he be looking at China? There’s every chance. But Robben is a very competitive player and a born winner and may not feel ready for such a drop in standards just yet. Worth a bid?. £4m-6m

DM/CM Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Aged 21, Chelsea. Tipped by many to play a big part in future top flight English football, Loftus-Cheek looks set to go out on loan at the very least this summer. Strong, fearless young midfield enforcer who would add genuine competition to the engine room. LOAN

RB/LB Jon Flanagan

Aged 24, Liverpool (on loan currently at Burnley). Benitez knows the youngster well from his Liverpool days. Still improving but vastly experienced player for just 24 years old. £3m/£4m

AMF Hatem Ben Arfa

Aged 30, PSG. Fan favourite Ben Arfa would be welcomed back by most Newcastle fans with open arms, with many blaming his departure to Hull City on loan firmly on Alan Pardew’s shoulders. An immensely gifted and creative player who, if left to do what he does best, will score and create at least 10 a season. Currently in no-man’s land at PSG after falling out with the manager and with his contract up next summer, it’s possible a loan could be thrashed out for the rest of his contract. £5m/Loan

RB/CB Micah Richards

Aged 28 Aston Villa. Once rated as the best young defender in the country, it’s hard to believe Richards is still under 30. Lost his way since leaving Man City but certainly still young enough to improve under Benitez. Would be a good, low-risk signing and certainly a step up from Jesus Gamez. £3m-4m

GK Pepe Reina

Aged 34, Napoli. With just a year left on his current contract and Benitez’ recent comments regarding his former keeper, there’s a good chance Rafa will be making a move. A top quality, experienced player to add to Darlow, Elliott and possibly Tim Krul. £2m/3m

Christian Atsu

Aged 25, Chelsea. Finished the season very strongly and when compared to players similar, is an absolute bargain. Well worth having in the squad. £6m

Total Spend £56m approx (not including wages)

Out: Mitrovic (£10m), Diame (£4m), Anita (release), Gouffran (release), Murphy (Free), De Jong (£4m) Riviere (£2m), Saivet (£2m), Hanley (£3m), Lazaar (£4m), Gamez (Free), Sels (£4m)

Total Player Sales £33m approx + wages (approx £7m per year)

Possible line up:


Richards, Shawcross, Clark, Flanagan

Hayden, Shelvey

Ritchie, Ben Arfa, Robben


Squad: Darlow, Elliott, Krul, Balotelli, Carroll, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Taylor, Loftus-Cheek, Lucas, Atsu, Colback, Perez

With just a £23m spend (approximately), that’s not a bad squad at all, and for nowhere near the £150m Alan Shearer insists the club needs. Hopefully, if nothing else, this just shows that we have every reason to be optimistic, regardless of what the pundits say.

Howay The Toon!


(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Alreet

    Dont agree with alot of these players. Balotelli have proven a liability time and again. We already have a hot head in mitro that is actually paasionate about the club. Ben Arfa. Yes would love him back but that ship has sailed now. Same with robben. Very good player but would want a massive pay deal and sign on fee.

    I wouldnt keep dummett or colback and the rest need stripping back. We need to cull the players who were so slack in the last few seasons and being local cant come into the thinking.

    Id go for barkley. Llorente. Fernando and iheanacho for starters. But we need to rebuild the back line in a major way

    • Geordiegiants

      We would all love to go for Barclay and Ineacho, but that just isn’t going to happen. Especially not Barclay, any of the top 6 would snap him up straight away.

      • Daniel MacGregor

        If Guardiola goes on a typical City type splurge in the summer, and if the lad doesn’t move permanently elsewhere and sees his first team opportunities limited by signings, I don’t see Iheanacho as totally out of the realms of possibility on a years loan

  • Jimblag23

    Jeeeeeeeesus! The amount of has beens suggested is incredible.
    We should stay we’ll clear.
    If we signed Ballotelli, Carroll, Lucas, Micah Richards and Ben Afra, 1. We’d have no fit players and 2. They’d always be injured. 3. Imagine Ben Arfa, Mitro and Mario on the training ground, they’d be either fighting or sulking everyday.

    • Alreet

      Couldnt agree more. We need to move on from romantic returns in benny and carroll. New faces that want to play and who wont sulk or be injured every other month

    • Wor Lass

      To be fair, he did say that he wasn`t recommending that we buy them – just demonstrating that we don`t need to spend £150 million. I love the image of Mitro, Mario and HBA meeting in training, though! As for HBA, “Currently in no-man’s land at PSG after falling out with the manager …” Who would have believed it – it must be Pardew`s fault!!

      • Jimblag23

        It would be interesting on their team nights out 🥂🍾🍻🍻🍻🍻🍔🍟👊🏻🤜🤕

      • Andy Mac

        Agreed it’s an illustration of how little could be spent while at the same time improving the squad.

        Mario for free, albeit wages plus a no sending off clause 🤔, and given a 1 year contract to prove himself wouldnt be the worst shout. He’s Nice’s top scorer this season but probably not Rafa’s type of player 🤣.

        • Wor Lass

          He wouldn`t know what hit him if came to Geordie-land. it`s probably the only place he could go and be upstaged! lol

  • Marveauxless

    Balotelli is a proven failure in the Premier League and Rafa would never sign erratic players like Balotelli and Ben Arfa in the first place; he has constantly shown a preference for consistent hard workers throughout his managerial career hence why the likes of Anita and Gouffran played ahead of Yedlin and Atsu.
    We would never pay the wages of Arjen Robben, Pepe Reina or Andy Carroll especially given how infrequently he plays (the last time he managed over 15 league starts was in 2013).
    And why we would need a 4th Premier League standard Goalkeeper I have no idea

  • Mayor Vaughn

    Read the article people he isn’t saying we should sign these players, just using them as an example to show how out of touch this £100-150 million talk is.
    Steady building over a few windows is whats required we are essentially starting from scratch after all.

    • Jimblag23

      So he’s saying we could buy these players cos their cheaper, but we shouldn’t do so, therefore we do need to spend big?
      I don’t get what you’re saying????

      • Mayor Vaughn

        No he’s saying there are bargains to be had weather you want to take a gamble is another matter.

  • Rich Lawson

    Taylor and Shawcross great,yes I appreciate the author is indicateing what is available but some of the wages involved would be ridiculous for dodgy injury history and rival offers from round the globe some involving european football. Ritchie was a magic buy for just ova £10 mil’ and will hopefully show the same form in the prem’ Speculation is what sells papers.I think Rafa has a few tricks up his sleeve that won’t break the bank ?

  • Daniel MacGregor

    Ok, I get the point the author is trying to make. And a few off those lads would make fair targets, the thing that got me was the list of players out, I agree with every single one off them. But the prices, sorry but no one is gonna pay £10m for Mitro, he is another dud we are saddled with probably on canny wages, and will be here til his contract ends.

    • Marveauxless

      I wouldn’t call him a dud, to score 9 goals for a relegated team in the Premier League aged only 21 shows potential (Jermain Defoe was relegated at 21 with West Ham and only scored 8 goals that season). He just isn’t Rafa’s type of player, there would be a host of good teams in countries such as Italy, Portugal and Russia who would have use for Mitrovic.

      • 1957

        Mitrovic’s single PL season gave him a better goals per game ratio in that league than Dwight. The problem is he doesn’t fit well in Benitez style of play but there will be decent clubs around Europe who will take him.

        • Daniel MacGregor

          I’m not denying he has had his odd good day. I just think the random £10m price tag attatched in the article is unrealistic based on his history here

          • Big Al 1967

            Your description fits a certain M.Sissoko and yet we got £30 million for that waster !!

  • GToon

    Harry Maguire too, now hull are down.

  • Paul Patterson

    Looks like a list of crocks and troublemakers on sky high wages..

  • Andy Mac

    I think our loan signings this season will hold the key Talk of three Chelski players turning up Ake, Loftus-Cheek and Atsu for a small fee would help bolster the squad with some quality. If we’re shedding the likes of Saivet, Riviere, De Jong etc the replacements really need to be major upgrades

  • bittermemory

    Re: Ben Arfa – ‘Currently in no-man’s land at PSG after falling out with the manager and with his contract up next summer’.
    A bit of a pattern emerging there, like every club he’s been at. He might have bags of talent but he’s a totally wasted it. We are going to need selfless team players next season.

  • zuccaforthewin

    Ballotelli? Ben Arfa? No way! We now need consistancy and those two does not bring that. They’re good, not to say magnificent in three-four matches a year, but we’re done with that. I think Newcastle-fans want Rafa to build a team with a capital T. Like Pochettino in Tottenham. Rafa does not like unprofessionalism and why take the risk of ruining the locker room.

    I see your point, but I think we will spend this summer. Not because every player necessarily have to cost a lot, but we need some proven players. And they cost because they have been around for everyone to see they’re brilliance.

    I take a wild guess here but I think we will go for Joe Hart. A new keeper and captain. And we need both.

  • 1957

    It will be interesting to see if we buy a quality striker for a substantial fee. That would for me mean, but for a major tactical shift by Benitez, Gayle dropping to the bench and not being a regular starter.

  • Geordiegiants

    I like the idea behind the article. Some of the choices are probably not likely, but I get the point that is trying to be made. Rafa has the pull to get these type of players, I’m just not sure if many of those would be my choices.
    I can’t believe Richards is only 28, he might be worth a punt on the cheap.

    • Damon Horner

      Based on the last few seasons i’d rather steer clear in truth.

  • GToon

    Why don’t we try and loan back sissoko. I mean, it’s not like he’s had a hard season with all of those games he hasn’t played in. Hahaha.

    • Jimblag23


  • Pelican

    Did Shearer actually state the club needed to spend £150 million to “survive”. No. Shearer stated the money is needed by the club to “establish themselves again as a top-flight force.” This is the problem when you try to stick the boot into a club legend before thinking.

  • GeordieZebra

    Ludicrous article from somebody who plays on his x box too much.

    Shearer is as acutely aware as we are that (a) Rafa won’t get this and (b) he doesn’t need it to ‘tread water’. It’s a public game of politics and Shearer is batting for the good guys.

    Balotelli – never. Robben- optimistic. Taylor – not free, compensation awaits. Richards – no ta.

    Back to reality please.

    • Damon Horner

      “It’s a public game of politics and Shearer is batting for the good guys”.

      Absolutely. It’s a game through the media designed to maximise the pot.

  • GToon

    Having just watched a club who we often hammer by 4,5,6 or 7 just finish second in the league as they plan to move into a ground almost 9,000 seats bigger than ours I think it’s not so much about buying x,y and z it’s more about how our club is run. Lets hear what Ashley’s vision for the future is. Lets hear him say how we are going to build our ground, develop the club, grow the brand etc etc etc. Isn’t this something he’s meant to be good at. Getting lucky with player purchases and sales will only take us so far. We need a plan in place and the right bums on the right seats. At the moment I can think of only one person (Rafa) who is in the right job, saying the right things. When Ashley made his statement the other day it had some kind of limit on it, as much as the club earns, as much as we bring in etc etc. There was no going for it, no real optimism or excitement from him. Such as shame for a club where the sky could literally be the limit.

    • Pelican

      ‘Tottenham are hoping to earn up to £3million per event at their new stadium by 2019 simply from staging video game tournaments.

      Spurs’ executive director Donna-Maria Cullen has confirmed that the club want to bring a wide range of non- football action to their new £800m home,
      including lucrative major eSports events.’

      Levy is a man with a plan. Can you imagine Charnley under the direction of Ashley coming up with an idea to grow the club. When Ashley is unwilling to pay or let somebody else pay for advertising, the chances of Ashley being remotely interested in growing the club is nil.

      It is disheartening to see what is happening at Tottenham, when Newcastle were not so long ago ahead of Tottenham in every department.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Like it or not, a club in London has more scope to host events like a pasty faced computer club convention. Geographically, Newcastle is a problem.

      • Leazes Ender

        Tottenham still has transport issues and parking issues…. does the new crossrail link which we are all paying for go there….no..

        They should host it in the midlands…. Villa Park.

    • HarryHype59

      True, I remember the days pre Ashley when Spurs used to be our whipping boys. The reverse in fortunes is down to leadership of the respective clubs. Spurs are gutted for finishing second in the EPL, whilst huge swathes of our fans go into meltdown because the club has won the second tier.

  • Mal

    Charlie Taylor won’t be free. Leeds will be due substantial compensation. Some of the others are fantasy although I agree with the general point that we don’t need to spend £150 million, which is just as well – Rafa won’t have anything like that amount.

  • Vodkamagpie

    So many players in the world that can improve Newcastle, it’s all about finding the right mix, at the right price. Pione sisto would be my first signing, left winger that cuts in on his right foot, excellent ball control and pace, reminds me of a sadio mane

  • HarryHype59

    It is all very well creating imaginary lower fees to get our under achievers out! The problem is these duff signings e.g. Saviet Hanley and Mitro are on bloated contracts which still have years to run.

  • Jezza

    I’m sure there are players out there with Premiership experience who could do a job for us and who can be bought for £8 to £10 million apiece. We need to be looking to clubs like Stoke, Watford, Bournemouth, Hull, West Brom, Southampton and Burnley for solid if not spectacular established Premiership players who will be well capable of helping us survive.

    • Leazes Ender

      What is the job…. securing relegation or selling programmes?

      • Jezza

        I’ve generally got a lot of respect for your views but your sarcasm is misplaced here. The job is improving the team with the aim of avoiding a relegation battle in our first season back in the top division. You don’t need a team full of £30 million high profile superstars to survive. Clubs like Watford, Stoke, Burnley, West Brom and Southampton have proved that. The Premiership is full of decent solid players who perform week in week out who didn’t cost the earth and probably don’t get the credit they deserve either. These are the kind of players we should be looking to sign.

  • Tony Mann

    nonsensical figures – surely, as a newly promoted side, we cannot believe we can compete with the upper echelons – Chelski, Manchester Town, London United, Mersey City. Guess that Leicester thing was a dream. Well… Leicester wasn’t a dream. It happened. Right manager, right players, we could you know!!! And I will happily present MOTD in our lass’s thongs.

  • Down Under Mag

    The prices are always a measure of finances available. Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City etc all have money to burn and so that automatically sees a massive inflation on the price of any player they are going for…because clubs know that can, and more importantly WILL, pay that amount for someone they want. That is why people need to understand that when Ashley is playing his cards close to his chest in terms of funds available (despite the reasoning behidn it) it actually does us a favour in the market.
    I think Big Al is showing a little bit of why he hasn’t been given a chance at the helm with comments like this as they are so out of touch with what is needed it is scary. There are still plenty of good players out there who don’t need an oil billionaire to fund their transfer…just need to keep faith in Rafa and stop Carr from getting involved as much as possible!

  • HappyToons

    Reina (Why, nothing wrong with our keepers and we have 2 young ones who are the best in the country to come through, given a chance; Reina was never a great keeper even at his peak, and will take a lot of games to catch up after Italian football, coming for crosses etc.)

    Richards (poor at Villa so no comment as plenty Championship players better),

    Flanagan (Ok but not first choice)

    Ben Arfa (will never be consistent so never a Rafa player, when he is bad he is the poorest player on the pitch, and he can be consistently bad for a genius)

    Robben (Bigger clubs will go for him and I doubt he would be up for it week in week out in the premiership)

    Gayle (would be on the bench at a top 7 club)

    Hayden (still a lot to prove in the Premiership)

    Your team would come straight back down, maybe Clark and Ritchie will cut it.

    Shelvey is the closest thing to Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Smith, with Jinky’s hair he would be far more highly rated.

    It is all about opinion … glad we have Rafa and not the average supporter or we’d still be in the Championship with Bamford and injured Charlie Austin up front and/or some of Villa’s failures

  • MadMag83

    I’d keep Murphy as he can’t be costing a lot in wages and we wouldn’t get anything back for him. Gamez is also worth keeping due to his versatility and experience and lack of a sell on fee.

    • Leazes Ender

      You don’t like football do you?

      • MadMag83

        Because I would rather we kept hold of an experienced international forward and a full back who won La Liga? Teams need leadership and experience in around the dressing room etc.

        Are you suggesting Murphy and Gamez are anti football?

  • Kevin Brown

    Em OK!!! Team off Dads Army!! Some are good picks but the rest no thanks,

  • Leazes Ender

    What does the ‘D’ stand for Alberto……is it …..Duh….. Brian Standen?

  • Leazes Ender

    What we need to be doing is spending 10-20 million pound on 17 new players in total and giving the rest to a charity…such as the underprivileged fat bastards of Totteridge…

    … its tax exempt and doesn’t mess up the premiership hierarchy