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Mark Lawrenson “Mike Ashley was never going to say ‘Here’s £150m Rafa, go and enjoy yourself'”

10 months ago
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Mark Lawrenson has been talking ahead of Saturday’s game at St James Park.

He has also commented on how the clubs have got on in the summer transfer window.

Last season saw Jonjo Shelvey throw the game away early in the second half with a senseless red card, up to that point Newcastle looked very comfortable and heading for a point, despite not showing that much attacking ambition.

Lawrenson believes that Rafa will once again set his side up for a point and thinks he will get it this time.

Very hard to predict the two starting elevens as Newcastle’s main new faces – Muto, Rondon and Fernandez have all played zero part in pre-season and indeed until this week, none of them had even trained with the Newcastle squad.

As for Tottenham, Pochettino admitted that a number of his World Cup stars will be missing, Harry Kane and eight others only returning to training this week and the Spurs boss saying some won’t even travel to Newcastle as there would be too great a risk of injury, having had so little preparation.

Mark Lawrenson makes a connection with Newcastle United’s lack of transfer spend and a supposed willingness of Mike Ashley to sell the club.

I find it very strange that people still swallow this, Ashley sees NUFC as a key part in supporting/promoting his retail empire and the idea he was serious about selling last Autumn looks laughable now.

Just as laughable is the idea that not allowing any net investment in the playing squad is somehow a sensible part of a plan in supposedly selling this football club.

Last year there was minimal net spend and then when the club was (allegedly) put up for sale, the big reason put up for it not selling was because the team was threatened by relegation – the idea being nobody could agree a price when nobody was guaranteed as to what division Newcastle would be in come the following summer.

So having made a profit of over £20m this time in the transfer market, how could anybody think the next logical step will be that a sale of NUFC would go through, when Rafa Benitez has had to put a squad together based on loans, frees and bargain buys once again?

Mark Lawrenson says Mike Ashley was never going to give Rafa Benitez £150m to spend but the reality has been over £170m worse than that. Crazy to look at it now and wonder what Rafa could have even done with a £30m+ net spend, which would have given him another £50m+ to play with.

Anyway, farewell transfer window, lets wave away those frustrations and look forward to the Spurs match, one of four of the first five matches where Newcastle are facing a top six side from last season…

Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:

“Mourinho may be unhappy about not making enough signings, but Tottenham did not bring in any new faces whatsoever.

“This is a big season for Spurs with their move into their new ground, but I am not sure about how it will go for them.

Newcastle have had a difficult summer, with their fans and the manager Rafa Benitez questioning the level of investment in the team.

“It was never going to be any different, though, was it?

Magpies owner Mike Ashley wants to sell up and he was never going to say ‘Here’s £150m Rafa, go and enjoy yourself’.

“As for the game, I am going for a draw.

“We already know Rafa will set his side up to get a point and I think he would take that result now.

“Prediction is Newcastle 1 Tottenham 1.”

Actor Joe Thomas (Simon off The Inbetweeners) is a Tottenham fan and is the BBC guest predictor this weekend:

“Spurs have been good on the road recently and I fancy us to win this one – Newcastle 1 Tottenham 2.”

Newcastle v Tottenham Match Betting:

Newcastle win 14/5Draw 5/2Spurs win 11/10

Rondon to score first goal 7/1NUFC win 1-0 19/2NUFC win to nil 11/2

All Newcastle v Tottenham betting HERE

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