Newcastle United have signed five players so far this summer, with Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy, and Mikel Merino brought in by Rafa Benitez.

Fair to say that the £30m or so that has been spent is far less than anticipated by most Newcastle fans but has Rafa managed to bring in some better players than their price tag suggests?

FourFourTwo magazine have looked into the summer window transfer dealings of all 20 clubs and when talking about Newcastle United, say:

“One of the advantages of having a high-profile manager like Rafa Benitez in charge of your newly promoted club is the access he gives you to players who would otherwise be out of reach.”

They add that Rafa is able to go for and persuade better players than say a ‘Steve McClaren or John Carver‘. A statement that not many Newcastle fans would disagree with!

Picking out their 12 smartest transfers of the window, Newcastle’s Mikel Merino is rated highly:

12 – Vicente Iborra (Sevilla to Watford)

11 – Will Hughes (Derby to Watford)

10 – Ahmed Hegazy (Al Ahli to West Brom)

9 – Steve Mounie (Montpellier to Huddersfield)

8 – Tiemou Bakayoko (Monaco to Chelsea)

7 – Kurt Zouma (Chelsea to Stoke)

6 – Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen to West Ham)

5 – Mikel Merino (Dortmund to Newcastle)

4 – Jairo Riedewald (Ajax to Crystal Palace)

3 – Roque Mesa (Las Palmas to Swansea)

2 – Mohamed Salah (Roma to Liverpool)

1 – Sandro Ramirez (Malaga to Everton)

FourFourTwo (to read their full feature go HERE) write-up on Mikel Merino:

‘One of the advantages of having a high-profile manager like Rafa Benitez in charge of your newly promoted club is the access he gives you to players who would otherwise be out of reach.

Newcastle have plenty going in their favour besides their current boss, but landing Merino from Borussia Dortmund would have been tougher under, say, Steve McClaren or John Carver.

Able to play at centre-half, as a deep-lying playmaker and in a box-to-box midfield role, the 21-year-old Spaniard completed a season-long loan move to St James’ Park last week.’



  • Steve Smith

    I have a feeling Lejeune may be the smarter signing. A decent ball playing centre back bought for relative peanuts. City had to fork over 50m for John Stones.

    • magpiefifer

      I tend to agree Steve – I like the look of this lad and am hopeful that he’ll adjust to the PL.

      • mentalman

        you look at our first four choice central defenders and i can’t actually remember when we were as strong in that position

        • Peter Stabler

          Pat Howard, Glen Keeley, Old Bob Moncur and Davy Craig at a push? I am having a laugh…

  • Leazes Ender

    The markt valuations don’t suggest that the players are better than the fees paid for them Dean.

    • Alex

      Are you still insisting that he’s already been ‘bought’?

      • Leazes Ender

        Absolutely according to Douglas of the chronicle, its the wording of the agreement to get around FFP rules.

        • Alex

          So, how many games is it to get around the FFP rules?

          • Leazes Ender

            Go ask Mark Douglas

        • rickyd

          Why would NUFC need to get around FFP rules if the club never spends any money (as you suggest)?

          • Leazes Ender

            The number of players on the books

  • Paul Busby

    Be interesting to know how FourFourTwo’s previous “smart transfer” lists (if they have any) actually panned out before I ascribe any credibility to this.

  • Leazes Ender

    What system of evaluation did the kids magazine use?

  • Steve Pearce

    Aaah! – Four Four Two.

    A stonking great Oldsmobile with a 445 cubic inch V8 and an exhaust note that could drown out the crowd at SJP.

    Shyte, what do you mean its a kiddie’s football comic – that’s sacrilege that is!