I have seen a few in my time…but this Newcastle United transfer window is maybe one of the most bizarre and ‘doing your head in’ that I have ever experienced, so far.
In the past we have seen the truly barren in summer 2013 and January 2014, when not a single player was bought.
Then of course you had the breakthrough season of 2011/12 being followed by a stunning refusal by Mike Ashley to push on, on the back of that, only Vurnon Anita arriving in summer 2012.
We of course also had the summer 2007 one, where wages were no problem. Sam Allardyce allowed to bring in ‘free’ transfers Viduka and Geremi on weekly wages of close to £100,000 each, plus the likes of Barton and Smith on huge £60,000 a week five year deals.
We also witnessed the January 2013 one with five Frenchman signed in almost the same number of days, as relegation threatened.
And of course these are just transfer windows experienced under Mike Ashley, never mind what we also saw before summer 2007.
Coming back to the present day, Newcastle have brought in four new players but fair to say the supporters are all a bit confused.
Normally a promoted team would be looking to prioritise signings that would instantly increase the quality of the first team, go into the starting eleven, yet at the minute none of could say for certain that any of Atseu, Manquillo, Lejeune and Murphy will play against Tottenham. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad players but not really the kind of signings that most fans envisaged would be prioritised to help deal with the step up back to the Premier League.
We all know that prices have gone up, just as the Premier League cash has also gone up, the two things inextricably linked.
Anyway, it got me thinking, if Newcastle United were shopping in this window, could Rafa Benitez with the budget he has been given, be able to buy the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Ciaran Clark?
The quartet are all British, all four have played in the Premier League before, three of the four are internationals, three of the four are creative midfielders/strikers, plus all four are in the 25-27 age bracket.
In other words, these tick pretty much every box for what Newcastle are looking for in this summer transfer window, along with the vast majority of other Premier League clubs.
So again, could Newcastle United afford to bring in any or all of these four players with the way they would be valued now?
Dwight Gayle – Signed for £10m in July 2016
Seeing Britt Assombalonga go from Forest to Middlesbrough for £15m, it confirms that the 26 year old wouldn’t be going anywhere on the cheap/reasonable. With 23 Championship goals despite starting only 26 league games, a valuation would surely be £20m or upwards. So I think safe to say that the signs are Rafa wouldn’t get anywhere near affording Gayle in this window.
Jonjo Shelvey – Signed for £13m in January 2016
Only 25, an England international, and widely acknowledged as the best midfielder, if not overall player, in the Championship last season, has also got 99 starts in the Premier League already on his CV. If he was worth £13m eighteen months ago, then with the increased market and the fact he has enhanced his CV with his time at Newcastle, Jonjo Shelvey is surely another who would be valued at around that £20m mark.
Ciaran Clark – Signed for £5m (release clause) in summer 2016
An experienced Premier League player with 119 starts, Clark is also first choice for the Republic of Ireland. Having a release clause in his contract meant he was sold by Villa for less than his market value a year ago and after easily being Newcastle’s best defender last season, and arguably overall player of the season, Ciaran Clark must now be valued at least in the £10m-£12m bracket. That would put him within Newcastle’s reach (Jacob Murphy arrived for £12.5m) but even that could potentially be on the high side for a defender if Rafa hasn’t got a realistic budget to play with.
Matt Ritchie – Signed for £12m in summer 2016
The 27 year old held his own in the Premier League in his one season so far in the top tier, whilst in the Championship he showed himself to be a goals and assists machine for both Bournemouth and Newcastle. Add in a brilliant work ethic and you have somebody who never lets the side down, at the very least giving it his all. Another who enhanced his reputation this past year, so difficult to see him having raised in value any less than £5m on top of the £12m Newcastle paid for him last summer. So to land him Newcastle would be looking at £17m+ and breaking the 12 year old NUFC transfer record, not likely in my opinion. Not if we aren’t going to pay that for a striker.
Reviewing what I have written above, it gives me both positive and negative feelings. The relief/reminder that we have got some decent Premier League level players BUT at the same time, it makes me wonder just how we will bring in any other similar level, or better, players unless Mike Ashley sanctions at least two or three signings that match or probably beat the current transfer record?
The bottom line is that at the moment, some of our starting eleven will be way below the standard of the four above, plus Matt Ritchie is still yet to play this pre-season as he recovers from injury.
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