Is everyone enjoying the sunshine?

How’s everyone’s holidays going?

World Cup entertaining enough, aren’t England looking good?

In the meantime, Newcastle United signings – ‘Yey, we have finally made progress in signing our first player of the summer’, rejoice and shout it from the rooftops. Ok, it’s the second if you count Martin Dubravka, but in Ki Sung-Yueng, we’ve seen progress at last in bringing in the midfielder, which now seems to be a direct swap for the outgoing Mikel Merino.

Negativity did I hear you say? Well, yes and no in equal measure for me. On one hand we have an older head with Premier League experience, who has played with current player Jonjo Shelvey and who the manager wants, if you believe the positive quotes attributed to him. This is a marked change from the club’s oft exercised policy of buying young for cheap, with a view to sell for a big profit. This is most welcome as it doesn’t always work and you can’t buy on the cheap the experience that some players have.

On the negative, we have a player who has experience of relegation dogfights, some successful, some not so. Another so-called negative, one which fans won’t, quite rightly let go, is that of the finances behind the deal.

It’s another example of the regime at the club selling a player for top dollar (Merino) and bringing one in for nowt, minus wages and agents fees. However, in this case I don’t see it as a problem, if the manager wants this player and if he’s good enough and certainly if the money saved on replacing the outgoing Merino is added to any pot for a left winger and a striker, it looks a good exchange all round. That’s the crux of the matter and only time will tell given the history of tightness from the owner.

This is certainly not Ki Sung-Yueng’s fault and I hope the lad does well, it’s not his problem that he walks into the political quagmire that Ashley has festered for the last decade.

When the club went out and signed Jack Colback for nowt in 2014, it was a replacement for the departed Yohan Cabaye, not bad business exchanging a product for £20m and getting one in for free- if it works. Sadly, the exchange proved to be  awful and we still can’t seem to shift Colback due to astronomical wages for a dodgy Championship quality player at best.

Back in 2011, selling Andy Carroll and replacing him with Shefki Kuqi was another case of making a huge profit at the expense of actual quality, that deal only came good when the club subsequently signed Demba Ba (once again a freebie) and the club’s fortunes improved. You can’t get away with it very often, as numerous relegation struggles have proved.

Sadly, this seems to be a trait the regime at this club has mixed to poor results on over the last ten years and one that fans won’t forget in a hurry. We need quality in the right areas (left wing and centre forward) and certainly the rumours of the club being linked with Andros Townsend are welcome as he is a class up on what we have and he can play both flanks which would add some great versatility, and for the reported £18m? He would be a great buy. I don’t buy too much into the so-called ‘disloyalty’ as many players would jump ship at any club, if relegation was suddenly thrust upon them.

As an aside, I would be dead set against the rumoured sale of Matt Ritchie to fund any purchases. We need strength in-depth and losing his work rate in the side would be a backward step, plus the old adage is that you can’t have too many quality players and options to call upon. He is a top professional, with a clean lifestyle and works like a Duracell bunny, he can’t be allowed to leave for business/funding reasons.

I would also be adamant that Kenedy is brought back to St James Park to continue the great work he did last season. Put simply, he lit up the pitch in a way that I can’t remember a player doing for many a season. He transformed the side when he came in and to be honest, should be made the next priority signing. Just imagine if we had Diame, Sung-Yung, Ritchie, Kenedy, Shelvey and Townsend to call upon from midfield.

This may be a contentious one among fans as the need for a striker is clear, but I would argue that the retention of Ritchie (and Captain fantastic Lascelles) is paramount over a striker, as if the quality of the midfield (and defence) is retained and where possible improved upon, the goals will come. Even an average striker will get goals if the service is right and consistent.

I believe that Rafa will be thinking the same sort of thing, that he would want to keep his best players and ADD quality, rather than take any away. That means the funds given to the manager need to be the highest possible to get the sufficient quality aboard and give us a good chance of having a cracking season.

We have a good and likeable side with nobody rocking the boat, which is all down to the manager, he won’t bring in people of bad character that’s for sure, it just needs that something extra to make it a GREAT side. Rafa Benitez knows this, so over to the owner. That’s where I have concerns…

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  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Yes our side with another for quality players including Townsend and Kenedy plus a striker and No 10 has great potential. Shame most on here cannot see and keep slagging them of. Keep the faith and get your season tickets.

    • panther

      no ambition=no seson ticket

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        When did you last go to a match?

        • panther

          over a decade ago, and not going back till Ashleys gone

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You you gave up pre-Ashley?

          • panther

            no the fat sam season was my last

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You gave up when KK arrived?

          • panther

            Ashley gets nothing and never will from me

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Seriouslt, if FSA was your last season, you’d have seen KK arrive, Season ticket renewals come about and we’d have bought Bassong, Colo & Guetierez whilst talk of Modric and Bastian Schweinsteiger (I know) were abound. You didn’t renew? Some Crystal ball that.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Not having a striker cost us a lot of points last term. Yes he will need service but we need a 15-20 goal striker. Which will cost us about 35m in the current market.

    • Duh

      I think rafa’s comments at the time about 15m for a guy who can kick the ball forward told it all.

      He knew he had a limited budget.

      They are keeping their cards close to their chests right now.

      I think we might see a 30m forward but only if we shift mitrovic, Mbemba etc

  • Leazes.

    Have a look at what you were saying this time last year….. well there’s no denying you put your head on the block with squad assessments!

    Still sticking with Ritchie…. gone are Darlow and Elliot, Gayle etc…..

    Problem is this ‘bigging-up’ process of what are very average players, and the master of course is Ryder who does it senselessly as it gives a false sense of security… He’s not alone either, Gibson and Macdonald are also in that channel. But its now solely up to fans and readers not media people to give an honest assessment because they just won’t do it. You know that setting yourself up as an expert requires personal judgement based upon what you witness and also by comparison with what the opposition have at their disposal…. you can’t assess a player unless you compare him with what he comes up against. Judgement based in isolation is meaningless, its not ‘Peer Review’ for us or for them its tosh served up as expert opinion and its nothing of the sort, meaningless page fillers to chastise for the sake of getting advertising hits!

    We have average players suitable for an average team which will strive to end up in tenth place…. if they come good they are summarly sold when the smell of money becomes too great to ignore!

    I’ll put my head on the block and say Lascelles will be sold and our poor players will remain within this season, not based on anything but warped logic and the history of the owner.

    • Wezza

      As hard as it is to get into the mind of a maniacal, greedy, unethical, (feel free to add to this list) disgrace of a human being in MA…. IF we sold Lascelles almost certainly would Rafa walk and we may be relegated again… means no TV money to get his accountants to gradually move it to his holdings black holes. He may hold off on that transfer.
      Everything else is predictable due to the history of the trolls master.
      I’m laying off even looking at the Chronicle as we know it is all PR fed down from Bishop. Yesterday a 27M offer for Plea. Yeah right.

      • Leazes.

        Interesting that the chronicle have found it in themselves to believe it but as you’d have to pay that sort of money in this inflated market for a third drawer striker maybe they’ll be forced to spend out of necessity to break the £15m embargo.

  • mentalman

    Ritchie only provided 3 assists last season so he either is struggling at this level to get the ball in to the strikers or the strikers aren’t converting the opportunities that he is providing, if its the first then if we can get 15million for him its good business, if its the second scenario then it doesn’t matter how good the wingers are, the strikers need to be improved on.

    • Burt Humperdink

      Ritchie scored 3 and made 5 last season our top assist maker in fact. That’s a perfectly acceptable return for an upper mid table midfielder.

      In regards to the other point it is certainly the latter. You only have to have watched us last season to know how many sitters Gayle and Joselu missed even Perez once in a while.

      • Duh

        Perez likes the hard chances

      • mentalman

        how many of his assists were from open play

  • robbersdog

    I like Ritche; selling him is a pretty dumb idea.

    • Stephen Paylor

      would you swap him for Andros? I think you would

      • Burt Humperdink

        Why? his stats aren’t any better, he’s only 2 years younger and he bailed on us in our time of need?

    • Down Under Mag

      I agree, I would like to keep Ritchie as well, it’s about having strength in depth but given the financial straightjacket Ashley has put the club/manager in we need to be realistic about what we can get.

      If we finished the window with Merino and Ritchie being sold but with Townsend, Ki and Kenedy added then I for one would be pretty happy.

  • Down Under Mag

    Merino has a lot of potential and i’m sure he will shine back in the slower paced Spanish league, but the bottom line is he doesn’t want to be at Newcastle so selling him on was inevitable and if we get a decent fee for him, found a free transfer replacement with good workrate and Premiership experience who DOES want to play for us then it is a great bit of business if you ask me. As long as that surplus isn’t used up in the “oh we used that to pay for his wages” B.S. that we normall see spun by the club. If that surplus goes towards other areas then it can only be a good thing.