Mike Ashley is a walking (waddling?) disaster for Newcastle United, no doubt about it.
Overall, this summer’s approach to the transfer window is a nightmare, absolutely.
The idea of refusing to give your manager a transfer budget, especially with the revenues generated, is quite ludicrous.
However, there has been certain positive changes to come out of this transfer window, with Mike Ashley changing his policy in certain ways.
Not surprisingly in the overall chaos, this has passed most people by.
Last summer Newcastle signed six players, 21 year old Mikel Merino on a loan with nominal number of games to trigger a permanent transfer, 22 year old Jacob Murphy, 23 year old Manquillo, 25 year old Atsu, 26 year old Lejeune, and 27 year old Joselu.
Rafa Benitez was blocked last summer from bringing in the odd veteran such as Willy Caballero, older players who would have no resale value.
Ashley also wouldn’t give the go ahead to loan deals with big loan fees attached, as well as no option to buy. Tammy Abraham a case in point, the striker eventually going to Swansea instead, who were reported to have paid £5m to loan him for the season (as well as almost £8m to loan Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich).
The insistence on younger players was never better seen than in summer 2015. Yes, significant money was at last spent , but Mike Ashley was still looking at an investment for the future and especially the potential return/profit when sold, so despite having only stayed up on the final day of the 2014/15 season, that summer (2015) Newcastle (Mike Ashley and Graham Carr) put their faith in buying a 19 year old (Toney, two 20 year olds (Mitro and Mbemba), a 22 year old (Thauvin), and a 24 year old (Wijnaldum) – all recruited from weaker leagues and with no experience of the Premier League.
Moving forward to the present day and whilst of course Mike Ashley’s actions are a total joke, he has at least allowed Rafa Benitez to have more freedom in who he goes for, once players have been sold and money generated…
Newcastle United are bringing in players who will have little or no resale value when they eventually leave St James Park.
Ki Sung-yueng turns 30 in January, Martin Dubravka also turning 30 that month, Salomon Rondon is expected to sign any day soon and he will be 29 in September.
Fabian Schar will be 27 in December, whilst the youngest buy so far is 26 year old Yoshinori Muto.
As for Kenedy, this time Newcastle will have had to pay a significant loan fee of £Xm this time, as well as his Chelsea wage bill for the season, all of it money that Mike Ashley knows he will never see again.
It is ironic that these signings are now being financed by selling 23 year old Mitrovic, 22 year old Merino, 23 year old Mbemba, and 26 year old Matz Sels.
As usual, nothing makes sense with Mike Ashley and his approach to Newcastle United and transfers, apart from spending as little as possible of course.
Any ideas that this summer’s transfers are being done with any intention of building for the future, have been blown away.
If you thought this summer couldn’t have been worse, then just imagine if as well as no transfer funds (without sales first), Mike Ashley had also insisted on Rafa Benitez only buying younger players from weaker leagues with resale value. Personally, I think that would have guaranteed relegation.
At least the likes of Ki, Rondon, Kenedy and Dubravka have all shown, to varying degrees, that they can do it in the Premier League, whilst Schar has played in both the Bundesliga and La Liga, as well as in the Champions League.
This is simply a case of an attempt by Rafa Benitez to survive in the Premier League for one more season, having been left with no other option when Mike Ashley refused to allow him any transfer budget, without selling players first.
With Ashley also knocking back Rafa’s pleas to make some much belated investment in the Academy set-up and the state of the art training complex that was promised five years ago, just another reminder that there is no future to look forward to, whilst we are still in the grip of this owner.