Things have been hotting up in Newcastle’s transfer market, at least in the media, with an incoming bid for Aleksandar Mitrovic and outgoing one for Nicolai Jorgensen.
When the dust settled, by Tuesday it was then universally reported that Newcastle’s bid for the Feyenoord striker had been turned down because the Dutch club saw it as a derisory offer, whilst Newcastle’s description of Brighton’s bid was that it was ‘paltry’.
The Nicolai Jorgensen offer had been hyped up by Mike Ashley’s PR people from the start, briefing the media with claims that they were going to smash the club’s existing 13 year old £16m transfer record, by signing a mysterious unnamed £20m striker.
The secrecy claimed to be needed so that other clubs wouldn’t come in and compete (though no explanation as to why they were feeding the media this transfer story in the first place then, if they wanted it to be secret..), in the event Newcastle are reported to have actually offered £12m…
As for Aleksandar Mitrovic, hopes that a conclusion had at last been reached – appeared to have been dashed, with Chris Hughton’s bid said to be £8m at best, around half of what Newcastle are demanding as a minimum, with others reporting that the bid was actually significantly less than even that £8m figure. A desperate situation really, where you have a player who needs to play and a manager desperate to sell to fund signings of his own, but a price tag that has so far made it impossible to sell Mitrovic over a number of transfer windows.
However, there was then what looked a breakthrough on Tuesday night, with Newcastle fans on social media rapidly spreading the news that Brighton had now bid £15m for Aleksandar Mitrovic, the source appearing to be pretty good with it being The Guardian.
With the Serbian’s departure seemingly inextricably linked to Rafa’s ability to then bring in a striker of his own, such as Jorgensen, at last movement in the log-jam.
However, on closer examination of The Guardian piece, it appears that the news was indeed too good to be true.
The Guardian – 24 January 2018:
‘Newcastle United are attempting to prise Nicolai Jorgensen away from Feyenoord after Mike Ashley indicated he was willing to break the club’s transfer record in an attempt to help Rafael Benítez’s side avoid relegation.
Negotiations to reach a compromise are ongoing but, should they founder, Newcastle will turn their attention to the Leicester City striker Islam Slimani, who is also priced in the £20m bracket.
Benítez will be expected to recoup some money by offloading a striker, most probably Aleksandar Mitrovic. Brighton have made a £15m bid for the Serbia centre-forward and are awaiting developments.’
The casual reference to the ‘£15m bid’ for Mitrovic looks as though it is just a lazy reference to the original bid for the striker which everybody had reported, rather than a new bid, Brighton having actually made an offer of £8m (or less) for a striker Newcastle rate at £15m.
Maybe in these days of ever increasing transfer fees where £20m is the new £5m, some journalists forget just how out of step Newcastle and Mike Ashley are to dealing in the transfer market.
If indeed any realistic chance of Rafa Benitez landing a decent striker at modern day prices, relies on getting £15m for Mitrovic, then I think we have been well and truly duped yet again by Mike Ashley’s PR machine trying to get another transfer window to pass by with minimal/no action and deflection of blame for the club’s owner.
Rafa has once again went public in telling everybody that Mike Ashley has promised to back him this window, after breaking his promises in the last two, will it be third time lucky for the Newcastle manager?
With 25 days now gone and not one player bought, and only six days until the window closes, the clock is ticking. Fans and Rafa Benitez have every right to ask that if we are to believe Mike Ashley was intent on backing his manager, why didn’t he do this ahead of January so signings could be set up (indeed Rafa went public in December, saying he needed all signings made by 15 January , or at very latest by 20 January), rather than these final days of the month?
As for the idea of Mike Ashley agreeing as an alternative to bid £20m on Islam Slimani who turns 30 in June…