Fair to say most Newcastle supporters were a little nonplussed by the signing of Ki Sung-Yueng.

The midfielder has played in the Premier League for the past six seasons and I definitely don’t remember hearing any Newcastle fan ever say, I wish we had him in our team.

It doesn’t mean that he is a poor player, just all feeling a little bit like when Jack Colback was signed up on a free transfer in June 2014.

I don’t remember any/many people saying it was a rubbish signing but neither did anybody get excited about it.

We all understand that not every player signed is going to break the club’s transfer record and that any transfer window will have a mixture of signings, hopefully.

So if signing Ki Sung-Yueng with no transfer fee involved, then helps free up cash for big deals elsewhere in the squad, fair enough.

The thing is of course, at this moment in time we don’t know who, if any…, the other signings are going to be this summer, with the exception of Martin Dubravka naturally.

So what positives and negatives can we take from this free transfer signing?

Well, I would suggest that the biggest positive is Rafa Benitez.

The signing tells me that Rafa is still engaged, is getting on with trying to improve the squad whatever the circumstances are that he has to operate within, especially financially.

Whilst no transfer fee is involved, I think it also indicates that the manager hopefully is getting the freedom that he wanted, signing somebody who is 29 and is on Premier League wages, with no potential resale value.

As the United boss has said before, it isn’t necessarily all about what exactly the figure is of any transfer budget, it is just as important that Benitez is allowed to do what he thinks is best.

To get out of the Championship, Rafa was allowed to bring in a varied list of signings, including short-term ones like Gamez and Murphy.

However, last summer it was a different story, with the manager blocked from bringing in both older players on frees/low transfer fees but big wages, as well as more expensive loan deals.

I don’t think Ki Sung-Yueng’s wages will break the bank but hopefully his signing is a step in the right direction, in terms of Rafa Benitez having the flexibility to use whatever budget in the best possible way.

Maybe the best chance of getting the necessary quality on the left wing and up front will be via loan deals this summer.

If so, for example Kenedy will have a far higher loan fee price on his head this summer, as opposed to what Newcastle paid in January for a player who’d done next to nothing in almost three years in England. Now he is seen as a dangerous winger who would have a queue of clubs willing to take him.

The same for getting a high level striker, Mike Ashley allowed it once when it was desperation time in summer 2013, Loic Remy arriving on loan at massive wages for the season after Ashley had blocked the club buying any players whatsoever.

Not saying we should definitely go down this route and not claiming these are the players Newcastle should go for, but as an indication of prices that would need to be paid even for loans, Swansea committed to loan fees of £5m and £7m for Abraham and Sanches last summer, as well as what would have been serious wages.

After last summer’s transfer window, Rafa Benitez made the point that Newcastle couldn’t even compete with both Brighton and Huddersfield on transfer fees AND wages.

It remains to be seen just how big a problem transfer fees are going to be for Rafa this time but he certainly needs to then have the freedom on wages, if he is to get best value for the squad and fans.

To feature like Phil Yates submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Paul Patterson

    Exactly my thoughts. The deal has instantly replaced Merino and for nothing. He won’t be first choice (That’ll be Diame/Shelvey and let’s not forget Hayden) as our midfield looks pretty healthy.
    We’ve done well to get Yeung and Dubravka for a pittance so the real test is if we can go and get a Kenedy and a front man with the money saved off this purchase. That’ll require breaking our transfer record . . . TWICE.

    • Leazes.

      We’ve put another very average player into a very average squad….. this was a chance for Rafa to take control and bring in some Rafa type players…. he hasn’t…..the manager wasn’t even in Newcastle to meet ‘HIS’ acquisition….

      Now by all accounts Ryder is going to big him up…… lets see him do that then…. he’s going to be busy in the next few weeks (Midnight tonight is the new financial year) having to big up at least 20 new arrivals for the missing places…. I noticed he didn’t mention the criticisms of the player at all (there’s a few) and dwelled solely on ‘positives’…. it doesn’t give you the whole picture does it.

      I don’t think this was a Rafa signing despite his tweet….. there’s just nothing in this players record to suggest improvement on the squad… the same policy of looking for free, and end of contract hole fillers isn’t the Rafa Benitez everyone knows it is the Ashley and Charnley though! Benitez has accepted responsibility for this one lets see what the rest of the deluge is going to look like…. my guess is pretty much the same!

      • Ram Kishore

        If you don’t like Ryder just don’t read what he writes..
        There’s already too much negativity going around at the club..
        U slagged of our two loan signing in Jan..
        He may do well here or he may not only time tells..
        Ryder bigs up players…Yeah..
        The Ki S Y links to Everton, AC seemed a bit odd.. maybe it’s true…Or not..

  • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

    Bournemouth sign 20year old david Brooks from sheff utd, we should of went for him, going to be some player.

    • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

      I don’t see what these so called scouts do at nufc, it’s easy to see a talent and in this case david Brooks but we never seem to pick up on them.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Our scouting seems to concentrate on Southern Europe which is Rafa’s known market.

        We’ll see how David Brooks gets on, there are some good players in the championship but 20yo are not easy to get right. Our coaching set up does not have a good record in bringing these lads on.

      • FatParosite

        That’s because Penfold just has BGT suggestions on his YouTube account….. Unless you think we should punt for SuBo…??

  • Mxpx

    I’d really like to see us signing players that can score goals I’m not interested in more defensive players

    • Leazes.

      Great idea…. write a letter to the club, they’ll not think of that by themselves.

      • Mxpx

        I’m genuinely starting to feel they won’t based on the transfers we’ve made so far under rafa being the manager we’ve only brought in two players I’d consider regular goalscorers Ritchie and gayle granted that was the intention when joselu was brought we’ve brought in as many goalkeepers as strikers and currently have shelvey hayden colback diame merino mbemba and saivet all available to play dm I have nothing against the lad but don’t see what the point of signing him was

  • Leazes.

    Stick your ‘positives and negatives’ Yates…. hey that’s closer…West Yorkshire!

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    the most positive aspect of ANYTHING about NUFC (outside of many of the fans) is Rafa Benitez.

  • FatParosite

    This article can be summed up by the naivety of this sentence:- ‘So if signing Ki Sung-Yueng with no transfer fee involved, then helps free up cash for big deals elsewhere in the squad, fair enough.’

    • Down Under Mag

      And the idiocy of some sections of the so-called fanbase is summed up by them trying to paint this signing as a negative just to perpetuate their mindless rhetoric of negativity. There’s plenty of negative aspects going on without needlessly complaining about a new signing.

      It’s a free transfer, adds quality to the squad, international player with Premiership experience. Yes we need more, we need to see some ambition…i’ll not hold my breath. But this is actually a decent signing.

      Also, ParAsite :)