Newcastle United could be facing a major challenge in moving players out, never mind signing new ones, if these wage reports are true.
NUFC’s media partner, The Mirror, say that their information is that Grant Hanley may have a number of clubs who would like to sign him but that he is on massive £45,000 a year wages.
By the season’s end, it became clear that the former Blackburn skipper had been recruited purely as cover for Jamaal Lascelles.
However, with the United Captain starting 41 of 46 Championship matches, Grant Hanley found opportunities very restricted.
Only starting five league games all year, the opening day of the season saw Rafa Benitez forced to play Hanley and Lascelles together because Mbemba was recovering from injury and Ciaran Clark not yet available.
It would be six months before Grant Hanley got another Championship start.
He looks a steady player and has previously shown he is a more than capable second tier player. Newcastle paying £5.5m and £45,000 a week wages for the the Scottish international to be insurance against injury is obviously extravagant for the Championship but could have proved key, especially if Lascelles hadn’t been able to play those final five months of the season when carrying an injury.
However, Newcastle could face a problem that has haunted them for years under Mike Ashley, getting players off the books when they aren’t up to the task ahead.
Unlike many who have gone before (Obertan, Marveaux, Xisco etc etc), Grant Hanley was bought for all the right reasons by Rafa Benitez BUT the fact still remains, he needs to find a new club.
Newcastle hit the jackpot last summer when banking around £80m just from the departure of Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Janmaat and Townsend.
Whilst at the same time it was a massive bonus that the likes of Steven Taylor, Marveaux, Obertan and Coloccini were also removed from the wage bill and squad, to make way for the very necessary new recruits.
Rafa Benitez probably needs a very similar busy summer of new recruits AND moving on those who he doesn’t have a role for. The transfer fees, saved wages will increase his power in the transfer market and create space in the squad at the same time.
Grant Hanley is said to be a target for any number of second tier clubs, including Wolves, Derby County and Cardiff City, but can any of them afford the defender after his wages took a major boost at Newcastle?
There is a long list of players who Rafa Benitez may want to move on but where wages could prove a major obstacle, not saying all of these will go (or Rafa will want them to) but they all look likely candidates: Riviere, Haidara, de Jong, Krul, Lazaar, Hanley, Mitrovic, Mbemba, Colback, Sels, Diame, Gamez and Murphy.
In the past, Newcastle have at times failed to shift players because Ashley refused to take the hit on them, meaning the club/manager being left with players who weren’t up to the job. Hopefully Rafa will have the freedom to wheel and deal, then with some players it may mean a lower (no?!!) transfer fee at times – but a saving on wages and creating space for those new Premier League capable signings.
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