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Opinion

Should have used £17m for ‘proper’ goalscorer instead of Joselu and Jacob Murphy?

2 years ago
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Luckily, Newcastle United’s excellent start to the season has helped dilute any pressure on Rafa Benitez to play Jacob Murphy.

Far too often in the past, Newcastle have bought players who were young and/or from abroad and felt compelled to throw them straight in, thus ruining any chance they may have had of longer-term success by playing them when they weren’t ready for it.

Jacob Murphy was Rafa’s biggest summer signing, costing a reported £12m from Norwich City, at 22 he has got all of his career ahead of him.

Maybe worth pointing out at this point, under the Mike Ashley/Graham Carr plan, back in summer 2015 their response to just surviving relegation was to go out and rely on two 20 year olds (Mbemba and Mitrovic), a 22 year old (Thauvin) and a 24 year old (Wijnaldum), all from weaker foreign league, to instantly come in and make everything right.

Newcastle were relegated.

Luckily with Rafa Benitez, just as with formation and team selection, he doesn’t care what anybody says and will play anybody only when they are ready.

Jacob Murphy has only played 79 minutes of Premier League football so far, including one start against Swansea.

Fair to say that so far Newcastle fans have seen nothing to excite them and it is a fair question to suggest whether Rafa’s limited summer funds should have maybe been spent elsewhere.

With Rafa desperate in the summer for a new first choice striker, it is easy to wonder whether the £12m Murphy fee and £5m Joselu one, could have been better used on a £17m goalscorer?

Once again, on Saturday Newcastle’s major weakness was up front, with Joselu and Ayoze Perez doing their best but providing zero threat to the Crystal Palace goal.

Despite that, Rafa Benitez’ most expensive summer signing stayed on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

Rafa has now been asked about Jacob Murphy and says ‘he is getting better’ all the time and ‘I am really pleased with everything’.

The United boss also making the obvious point that at the age of 22, the winger has been brought for the future as well as the present.

Impossible to know what the manager really thinks of course because he isn’t one to hang players out to dry, always wanting to support them in public. When asked about Jacob Murphy, what else could he have said?

In today’s football world £12m isn’t a massive amount to speculate on a young player but with Mike Ashley not prepared to properly fund the summer transfer window return to the Premier League, it ended up being a lot of money to Newcastle/Rafa.

Again, worth pointing out that two years earlier, Newcastle spent more on each of Mitro, Thauvin, and Wijnaldum, before the real hyper inflation took over in the Premier League.

So, where I’m at, is basically thinking that if Jacob Murphy does pull through in the end, it will be a bonus. With cheaper signings such as Lejeune and Merino proving real successes so far, you have to take the summer business as a whole package.

I still can’t help thinking though, which striker Rafa Benitez could have brought in with £17m in his pocket to spend…

Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:

“You can use the money as an excuse for anything – but Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu also cost us money.

“The main thing is not the money, we signed a player for four or five years – who is a young player – who needed Premier League experience.

“He is getting better and in every training session there is improvement from him, he is working hard, trying to get better.

“I am really pleased with everything.

“I think he will be a good player for us during the season and also in the future. He is still a young player.”
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