As Rafa Benitez was restricted to a net spend of only £11.5m and reliance on signings around the £5m mark to build up a team/squad, Stoke City were paying out £18m for Kevin Wimmer.
The centre-back made his Stoke debut on Saturday, as the Potters drew 2-2 with early league leaders Manchester United.
Asked whether the visit to Newcastle would be the easiest game so far (Stoke have also played Arsenal at home and West Brom & Everton away), Kevin Wimmer says the game at St James Park ‘Is still difficult, even if many people would expect us to go there and get at least a point, maybe three’.
Starting with a defeat at big spending Everton, Stoke have then been unbeaten, with a win over Arsenal and draws against West Brom and Manchester United.
It is seven years since Stoke last won on Tyneside, with three Newcastle wins and two draws since Saturday’s visitors won 2-1 in September 2010.
In the (last!) relegation season it was a 0-0 draw at St James Park but Newcastle fans will be hopeful of the team making it three wins in a row.
As Kevin Wimmer points out, Newcastle had a ‘difficult start but then they won their last game at home against West Ham and they won at Swansea’.
Stoke have always been renowned for their defence in recent years and Rafa Benitez is also building from the back. Despite having to do it on a budget, the United boss has plenty of competition in the defensive positions, apart from no available natural left-back – with four different players (Dummett, Mbemba, Clark and Gamez) already used there.
Despite injuries hitting his team, Newcastle have now gone over three hours without conceding a goal and if they repeat that on Saturday, then I think we have seen enough in these last two games to give us confidence that our players will manage a goal or two of their own.
“I think we have a very good group of players and in the defence we have many options.
“I have been at the club for two weeks now and it’s a great group and a lot of fun.
“We have a very good squad and hopefully we will be a team that is very difficult to beat based on that strong defence.
“It is still difficult even if many people would expect us to go there and get at least one point, maybe three.
“We will prepare very well. We know it’s going to be very difficult and hopefully we will come back with three points.”