So, the mind-numbingly fake and Sky Sports engineered Transfer Deadline Day has passed and Newcastle United are the poor relations of the Premier League once again.
For me, you can break the transfer window down into three parts…
The pre-window, where normal clubs do their scouting and compile various options for various positions and the costs of the deals.
The second part is when the window actually opens, this is when normal clubs do their business, signing players and negotiating to get transfers done as soon as possible, to get players into the club and playing games.
The final part of the window is the stupid bit – Deadline Day itself, the bit that causes the most panic with supporters of clubs like ourselves and those struggling.
There is no logical reason why a club should leave deals until the last days of the window, unless that is they are a selling club and have no intention of buying. Put simply, if your club has left its buying that late, your club is either buying nobody or it’s going to be paying way over the odds for whoever they do buy. If Newcastle were serious on buying anyone outright it would have happened days/weeks earlier.
The one time that the club got the January window right was in 2012 when we paid £9m for Papiss Cisse and he went on to be a sensation while we finished 5th that year. If you spend money you reap success, funny that.
Fast forward six years and it’s not about building a side to compete and push on for Europe (remember those days), at the minute we are all about self-preservation under this regime.
Will Slimani and Kenedy prove to be good additions? Only time will tell, the latter looking rather good last night before his lack of match fitness came through. How good Islam Slimani will be is a little more uncertain. We were linked with him a few years ago but backed out because of the fee he was going to cost (now where have we heard that before?).
Naturally at this club, there are flaws to any business done. With both Slimani and Kenedy, Newcastle have no ‘option to buy’ in the deal, meaning (Premier League safety permitting) we will be back to square one in the summer and STILL be looking for two players just to stand still. Slimani is injured for a reported couple of weeks and again can’t play against parent club Leicester in April, whilst Kenedy can’t play against Chelsea on the final day of the season.
There’s always a catch at this club, always a problem. We never seem to get a side built ready to go from the off in August and then are left scraping around in January wondering why it’s difficult all of a sudden, to get players in to arrest a slide in form or pull ourselves out of the clarts. Imagine if we’d had Slimani or whoever in from the start, we’d be comfortably top half by now. But then again, our owner does like a gamble on these sorts of things.
As an aside to all this, the sheer lunacy of Mike Ashley reportedly wanting £400m for this club is a sad indictment of the man. What price would he accept now if someone was daft enough to bid for the club in its current position, a team currently keeping itself out of the relegation zone only by a solitary point at the time of writing.
The asset that is Newcastle United will be worth at least £100m less if we are playing Championship football again this coming August. It beggars the question, why didn’t he sell up last month and relieve himself of the hassle? Whilst £250-300m might not have been what he wanted in an ideal world, if he isn’t going to spend what is required, then let someone else do so.
It makes me think he actually enjoys what he is doing and/or he is doing it on purpose – nobody can be that short-sighted/naive or stupid without a reason and it looks like (and not for the first time) he’s having a high stakes gamble with the future of the club, while at the same time getting his revenge on them fans for daring to challenge his ownership.
So that’s it I’m afraid, this will be the squad charged with preserving our Premier League status. Hard grafters and players that just aren’t good enough to cut the mustard in the Premier League.
I hope that Slimani and Kenedy can provide the firepower needed to get us another five wins and keep us up. I hope that come the summer we have someone ready to buy the club and rid ourselves of this depressingly monotonous cycle we have had for the last decade, a cycle of failure that only one man is responsible for.
***A cracking show of defiance from those responsible for the Flags before kick-off last night, featuring a quote attributed to Kevin Keegan in 2008.
If it is to be their last showing then it has been great to be sat in amongst it.
Hopefully it will return one day when we are run properly on and off the field.
Hopefully ‘One day (we) will get (our) club back and it will be everything (we) wanted it to be’ and hopefully it isn’t too long in coming.