While it’s great to have new additions Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto on board and ready to challenge for a place in the first team, it’s tempting to wonder whether they have been signed solely based on their footballing abilities.

With all the cynical stunts that Mike Ashley has pulled down through the years, it’s actually surprising that Newcastle’s signings during his tenure haven’t been intrinsically linked to Sports Direct’s expansion plans – until now?

While Ki has proved himself a capable performer during a lengthy stay in Britain and Muto featured for Japan in their recent World Cup campaign, the arrival of two new Asian recruits – each of them the first player from that nation to represent Newcastle United – can’t help but raise eyebrows amongst the more mistrustful Magpies fans.

March 2018 saw Sports Direct announce plans to set up a regional distribution centre in Kuala Lumpur in order to facilitate further expansion into the Asian market – a market that also happens to have a seemingly insatiable appetite for Premier League football.

Asia’s football fanatics are always keen to track the fortunes of the Asian players in the league and, by extension, lend their support to the teams they represent – which would surely suit Mike Ashley down to the ground….

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  • ghostrider

    I have a feeling that this is a big part of the signings.
    It can be looked at both ways…good and bad, depending on how those players turn out.
    But it’s not a bad thing overall even if they don’t turn into anything super special. It does help Ashley’s business brand whilst also putting Newcastle United further onto the map.

    He bought the club to help market his business all over the world.
    I suppose he banked on it being marketed alongside a feel good factor of a fairly successful Newcastle United..at first.

    Now he has to plod on doing it amid fan turmoil and tabloid bile.
    All he can do is add in worldly extras.
    It gives us a different take and also him a leg up.

    He’s a businessman and he will do what’s necessary to drive forward. That’s why businessmen succeed.

    Fans can keep hating him and moaning at anything he does but players like this mean he’s in for the long haul unless someone comes and pays what he’s asking.

    If fans don’t like what’s going on then this magpie group needs to get in motion and negotiate a buyout…because nobody else seems to be rushing in and very few sugar daddies are left who want to be hobbyist football club owners after seeing what happens to owners who splash the cash and fail, only to be hounded out.

    You never know…maybe Ashley and the magpie group can work together. fans and Ashley to lessen the blow and that way we all know what’s what.

  • Your mum

    What an awful article.

    SO we buy a player that one of our star players (JJS) likes and plays well with and the other is a top player in the german league and you find away to turn it into a Mike ashley article.

    All clubs expand into the far east, as that’s where the people are, if you can become a favourite over there then the money comes rolling in. Secondly, Mike ashley does not make the signings. Come on guys, you can do better than this.

    • FatParosite

      hha hah ahahh aha haha a ahhahaha ahahahah ahah aha hahahaha hahahhaha hahhaha ahahah ahahahhahaha ….. ‘top player in the german league’….ahahh aha haha a ahhahaha ahahahah ahah aha hahahaha hahahhaha hahhaha ahahah ahah

      • Ram Kishore

        It’s really a bad article.
        What he says has lot of truth in it.

        • FatParosite

          You don’t get a ‘top player in the german league’ for £9m… You’re the unfeasibly gullible type that Ashley has built his empire on.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yeah he may have overstated few things about him being a top player in Bundesliga and few others
            For your information i dont live in UK and there aren’t any sport direct stores or even a label of that brand in my country..
            This is just another pathetic article that pretty much mocks or undermines the players we have signed..
            Criticism is one thing..This is pure fantasy.

            There was nothing wrong in what he just told.
            We justified the signing of Ki and Muto and now this writer is manipulating it into something which really isn’t true..
            If you believe Rafa is very vocal .. then if these two players were signed without being part of his transfer list he would have just opened up ..
            Signing of both these players is good for Nufc as well, as it puts nufcs reach to get more fan base.
            U want the club to be ambitious, u need overseas revenue ..
            Our shirts sponsor is from Asia.. Sleeve sponsor is from my hometown.

            Criticise Ashley, as there are lot of reasons to do ..
            Lack of activity .Yes criticise him.

          • Ram Kishore

            He’s just hyped up few things ..
            U gotta take it cool on that.
            I believe we have signed players for their abilities and along with that comes a big advertisement for Nufc in Asia and future increases in revenue .
            Because that’s where the market is and our shirt sponsor is from Asia, Sleeve sponsor from my hometown.

            Back that day when people were saying we are being paid low for shirt sponsor ship..
            This could increase the sponsor fee further next year from Fun88 and MRF

          • Wezza

            It could indeed but Rafa/other manager will not see a penny!

          • Ram Kishore

            U guys also moan about our club not increasing its commercial revenue ..
            If Rafa signed them for their abilities , this revenue stream is a further positive for the club

  • Desree

    Perfect, even greater exposure for protests

  • mentalman

    so we’ve gone from the club pulling a masterstroke in signing a premier league experienced midfielder when fans are trying to justify the sale of Merino to him only being signed to expand SD’s exposure

  • Steve Smith

    Looks like they’ve stolen enough copper wire in Pennywell to get internet to their hovels.

  • Jezza

    Tell us something we don’t know.

  • benton mag

    Disgusting article shows a total lack of respect to OUR players

    • Superdooperhooper

      No it shows a lack of respect to a greedy fat slug so it’s totally justified

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    First of all they were on Rafs’s list not Ashley’s and quote they have been on our radar for a while. Remember when Park came to Man Utd people said the same thing but he turned out to be a decent player. The Mag promised me no signings you have let me down badly. Yes we sign a ten million player but it’s all doom and gloom on here. Three hundred and seventy one single seats in the normal part of the ground left so better get them quick unless you want to pay £62.00 or able to go in the family enclosure.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Park came to United??? Oh the mask is slipping Mr. Lee

      Normal people who didn’t support Man Utd would say when he went to not came

      • Paul Patterson

        Well spotted. Troll under the bridge . .

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Been to more Newcastle games than you will ever dream off.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Paul he’s had an absolute nightmare today, I’ve rumbled him as the liar he is. Check on his last few messages to me

    • Superdooperhooper

      You still going on about tickets? Give it a rest !

  • LockieToon

    People won’t want to hear it but I am strongly of the belief that Ashley uses NUFC to his gain and only expanding his wallpaper that has SportsDirect printed on it…

    • FatParosite

      How do you do it Holmes..???

    • Tony English

      It is a fairly obvious statement that NUFC is being used for the owners personal gain. As much as his signage is ugly, rotten and cheapens the club, most fans would accept it if he put in a fair wedge from the money he pockets.

      You could argue Scottish and Newcastle Breweries gained a great deal of publicity for their role in bringing Keegan to the club (twice), the blue star was everywhere, so gaining from that kind of move is fine.

      King Power have used Leicester similarly to make inroads in business, but the fans have been treated well at the same time.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Captain obvious has nowt on you!!

  • FatParosite

    Billy Bean Bollix

  • That was obvious but players are good, so I don’t care really. Could have done much worse. I still think we need Spanish/Brazilian CM/DM to get forward more often and offer better technical ability. Surely, Rafa knows a midfielder or two from La Liga who would jump at the chance to play in the Prem? There must be dozens of players on 20,000 a week and 10m release clause.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      It’s all good identifying targets it’s the hard part of getting fatty to part with money

  • SuperDesHamilton

    I pray Muto is good but didn’t Godzilla fight two Muto’s in his last film

    • Ram Kishore

      I really never liked that Fat legged Godzilla.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        I’m indifferent to this one, we’ll see how he shapes up in king of monsters

  • Tony English

    Muto official arrival pics on the club site…19 photos not one SD banner in sight.

    Hopefully a taste of things to come.

  • Milo79

    I hope I’m wrong, but Muto’s signing feels a lot like when Xisco was brought in against Keegan’s wishes. A transfer with a commercial motivation, not a footballing one.

    • Ram Kishore

      But Xisco wasn’t highly regarded nor was he an international like ki and Muto, who are internationals and well known name in Korea and Japan

      • Milo79

        Xisco was a Spanish under 21 international.

        • Ram Kishore

          Yeah I saw that before I posted my comment.
          I didnt what made people sign him but he didn’t have any commercial clout ..
          Maybe it was one of those deals that Dennis Wise had with Deportivo to get some money for his own pocket.
          Just speculating

          • Milo79

            It’s anyone’s guess because he certainly didn’t play like a Spain under 21 but I suspect you’re right.

            He was of course followed through the doors at SJP by a certain Nacho Gonzales – signed as a favour to some South American agents and ‘scouted’ using a handful of clips on YouTube. Keegan objected strongly to this and the player was signed anyway, which was largely the basis of Keegan’s successful claim against the club.

          • Ram Kishore

            Sometimes it’s the club themselves making mistakes by appointing not the right people or sometimes managers taking a payoff for signing players..

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    Hmmm, This is rather a disrespectful summation of a player’s ability based on his ethnicity. I think we should have got beyond the notion of tokenism.

    I’d respect the author if he’d been monitoring the player himself but he’s literally decided upon himself that the player must not be good enough to fit in with the author’s own racist opinions.

    • Paul Patterson

      It’s not racism and certainly not from the author I’m sure.
      It’s merely pointing out facts and the owners opportunism. If anyone is guilty of anything then it’s the owner for exploitation . .

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        It assumes the owner is exploiting. if that’s the starting point, the author needs to look at himself first.

    • Superdooperhooper

      We haven’t got beyond the notion of ashley being a greedy fat slug though

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        A funny way of explaining it with casual racism

        • Superdooperhooper

          You’ve got a pic of jimmy savile’s bezzie on your profile . What’s worse racism or kiddy fiddling ? You tell me

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            That’s Terry Mac & kk!

            When it comes to the association with Savile, I think you can point at the unique way the BBC is funded rather than the odd photo op with an MP.

          • Superdooperhooper

            Oh come on! It’s common knowledge that thatcher forced through savile’s knighthood against the wishes of her advisers and the civil service. It’s all on record

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Is it? He was on the BBC right through into thrle Blair years. He could do this as the BBC was a socialist shelter for that sort: dlt, saville, Corbyn etc

          • Superdooperhooper

            Check your facts Savile left the BBC long before Blair and what are you implying about dlt and corbyn?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Well, DLT went to jail gir his Antics and Corbyn is just weird.

            The way the BBC is unaccountable allows the place to be run like a Cosy club.

            It should have been privatised years ago.

          • Superdooperhooper

            I can’t stand dlt but he wasn’t found guilty and your opinion of corbyn is entirely subjective And privatising everything has worked well hasn’t it?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The was found guilty of indecent assault.

            To anyone with a brain, Corbyn is a dangerous leach.

  • Down Under Mag

    I think this is being a little disrespectful to the players in questions ability. Both players have international experience, both work hard and both seem pleased to joing the club. Let’s wait at least beyond the 20min mark of their first appearance in a black n white shirt before we start booing them shall we?? Sorry but this type of article shows exactly what is wrong with certain elements of the fan base. They may turn out to be total flops, BUT to judge them before they have even kicked a ball is very short sighted!

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    If Ki was a Martian or Venusian he still would have been signed – simply because it was on a free.

  • Martin Rooney

    Whose pawns though Rafa’s or Charnley’s

    • Superdooperhooper

      Ashley’s of course

  • Albert Stubbins

    Prawns in the game more like!!

  • Lewis SG

    When Ki signed for Swansea did anyone mention about selling jerseys?

    Be fair! He has proven that he has enough quality to play in the Premier League.

    If Ashley wanted a marketing tool he could have kept Chopra and send the team on a Sports Direct tour in India.

    Give Muto and Ki a chance and support them.

  • Derek Osborne

    If the fat *wat is opening a new store in Kuala Lumpur, this may explain where all the money is going.