This is probably the first Newcastle United team in the Premier League era, in which there has never been any worries about the top clubs coming in and taking our players.
Going back to the post Kevin Keegan era, the likes of the following all went onto big clubs and forged a decent career for themselves.
Some didn’t go directly to a ‘top’ club and instead went via another one in between – but eventually ended up where they wanted to be.
The likes of:
Tomasson (AC Milan)
Woodgate (Real Madrid/Tottenham)
Bellamy (Man City/Liverpool)
Milner (Man City/Liverpool)
Given (Man City)
Owen (Man U)
Ben Arfa (PSG)
The point being that no matter how weak Newcastle United squads have been, even the sides that have got us relegated, they have included players who have gone on to bigger things.
Even Jean Alain Boumsong was on the bench in the 2006 World Cup Final and then went to Juventus from Newcastle (albeit to Serie B).
Also, don’t forget, Danny Simpson went on and was a regular in a Leicester City side that won the Premier League.
I don’t think there are any Newcastle players in this current squad that you could say the same about, in terms of attracting the interest of a big club, perhaps Jamaal Lascelles is the only one potentially?
Again, it is testament to the job that Rafa has done in terms of taking a group of very average players and turned them into a side that competes in the top league of world football.
It is perhaps easy to underestimate the job he has done. It is probably the biggest positive of them all, that after 11 years of Mike Ashley, we are still somehow hanging in there at the top level of English football.
However, if you said to me would you take relegation, losing Rafa, putting back our chances of winning a cup or being in Europe for another 20 years, to be rid of Mike Ashley, I would snap your hand off in an instant.
Alas, nothing truly positive can happen until the Fat Man sells up.
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