When talking about transfers, or lack of them, under Mike Ashley, most of the talk is usually about the failure to beat the 13 year old Newcastle transfer record.
What isn’t mentioned as much, is that in 22 years Newcastle have failed to pay more for a player than that £15m that brought Alan Shearer to St James Park (apart from that Michael Owen deal).
The first 11 years after Shearer arrived there could be seen to be excuses for that but in the 11 years of Mike Ashley, along with rapidly increasing transfer fee levels, it is quite astonishing.
However, what I really wanted to talk about, was the lack of signings at even a slightly less ambitious level.
This is the more than £10m level, which is very much the norm for many (most) Premier League signings now.
In total, Newcastle have paid more than £10m for only nine players in their entire history.
You had the Shearer and Owen signings, then in the 23 transfer windows under Mike Ashley, it has only been repeated another seven times.
It gets even more bizarre though…because you had £11.3m paid for Coloccini in summer 2008, then £12m for Matt Ritchie in summer 2016, BUT all of the other five came within a seven month period of the 2015/16 relegation season.
Yes, after stockpiling money and weakening the squad to very dangerous levels, Mike Ashley and Graham Carr in summer 2015 then pursued a disastrous route of buying young players from weaker European leagues (in the hope they would grow in value) to try and turn around a team that had just survived relegation on the final day of the season.
So we saw Mbemba come in for £8m, as well as three for more than £10m – Mitrovic (£14.5m), Thauvin (£13m) and Wijnaldum (£14.5m).
Then when still relegation threatened in the January (2016), £13m was twice laid out for Shelvey and Townsend. Talk about (relative) feast and famine.
Quite incredible that in the three transfer windows since promotion, Newcastle haven’t spent more than £10m for a player.
It gets much worse when you open your eyes and start to compare us with clubs that Newcastle fans would automatically think we should be competing with. In fact clubs that supporters would have thought we were way ahead of not so long ago.
From summer 2016 onwards, Newcastle have only once spent more than £10m on a player (Matt Ritchie), whilst Leicester have done it 11 times and Everton on 10 occasions (see below).
To add insult to injury, in that time period Leicester have beaten the £16m Newcastle transfer record six times, whilst Everton have done it nine times!
Newcastle United signings costing over £10m:
£16m – Michael Owen (Summer 2005)
£15m – Alan Shearer (Summer 1996)
£14.5m – Gini Wijnaldum (Summer 2015)
£14m – Aleksandar Mitrovic (Summer 2015)
£13m – Florian Thauvin (Summer 2015)
£13m – Jonjo Shelvey (January 2016)
£13m – Andros Townsend (January 2016)
£12m – Matt Ritchie (Summer 2016)
£11.3m – Fabricio Coloccini (Summer 2008)
(Amongst the players to have been bought by Newcastle for £10m are Obafemi Martins, Dwight Gayle, Albert Luque, Papiss Cisse, Jacob Murphy)
Leicester City signings above £10m from Summer 2016 onwards:
£27m Islam Slimani
£25m Kelechi Iheanacho
£22m James Maddison
£22m Adrien Silva
£20m Ricardo Pereira
£18m Ahmed Musa
£16m Wilfred Ndidi
£14m Nampalys Mendy
£13m Danny Ward
£13m Vicente Iborra
£12m Harry Maguire
Everton signings above £10m from Summer 2016 onwards:
£44m Gylfi Sigurdsson
£26m Jordan Pickford
£26m Michael Keane
£26m Yannick Bolasie
£24m Davy Klaassen
£21m Morgan Schneiderlin
£20m Theo Walcott
£20m Cenk Tosun
£13m Ashley Williams