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Opinion

The reality of the £100m Newcastle United War Chest

3 months ago
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In the wake of the announcement of latest financial results, you’ll have likely read various news outlets reporting that Rafa will be given a ‘£100m Newcastle United War Chest’ this summer. Some call it a £100m “transfer kitty” these days.

If, like me, you’re feeling a strange sense of deja vu right now it’s because you’ll have likely seen the same figure bandied about by the same news sources 12 months ago. Where this number came from last year, we can’t know for certain. My personal theory is some journalistic Einstein at The Mirror plucked this roundest of round numbers out of thin air and consigned it to print with little to no shame.

This year, it doesn’t take long to debunk the £100m fantasy. One quick glance at the financial statements tells you this figure is wrong. With a turnover of £178.5m, operating costs of £119.6m and no owner investment confirmed… Newcastle do not have a £100m summer war chest to gift Rafa. It is closer to £50m. A lot closer.

Where does the reported £100m figure come from? The club via Chanley have confirmed we’ve been operating on a flexible 2-year transfer budget… do you think the same Einstein has done the maths and figured out 50 x 2 = 100?

The reality is that it’s impossible to know how the upcoming summer window will play out, £100m over two seasons could be spent any number of different ways. To keep it simple though, here are three spending strategies that could be adopted;

Strategy 1: Blow the 2 year budget up front and actually spend £100m this summer. Bold.

Strategy 2: Split the budget 50/50 over two years. Reasonable.

Strategy 3: Spend very little this season and save for next season. Relegation.

Quite good to be flexible and have these options actually, although I sincerely hope we do not opt for strategy 3.

Of course, it’s impossible to know what will come to pass during the summer months ahead. It’s quite fun to speculate though and the bar has been set low by “journalists” so here’s my best guess based on all the information out there and my own assumptions:

Starting 2 year budget (incl. agent fees, loan fees, etc.): £100m base + £11m carried forward confirmed by club = £111 total

Assumption 1: 70% of starting budget is spent on transfer fees (based on estimated transfer fees paid during past two seasons of £86.1m (source: nufc.com) from budget of £122.2m (i.e. £70m base + £52.2m player sales confirmed by club)).

Assumption 2: budget is split 50/50 over 2 seasons.

Estimated 2019/20 sales of 45m:

Hayden – 15m

Shelvey – 15m

Gayle – 10m

Murphy – 7.5m

Diame – 0m

Barraca – loan ended

Kenedy – loan ended

2019/20 budget (incl. agent fees, loan fees, etc.) after sales: 100.5m

Estimated spend on transfer fees for 2019/20 season: 70m

Purchases:

Rondon – 16m

Further 3 transfers at average cost of 18m + 2 loan signings

2019/20 squad:

Dubravka, Woodman, Darlow

1 new defender, Yedlin, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lejuene, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie

3 new midfielders, Longstaff, Ki

1 new attacker, Almiron, Perez, Atsu, Rondon, Muto, Joselu

Looks like a summer of evolution rather than revolution if you ask me but if Rafa stays, I’m backing him to improve on the squad above and extract the most out of the budget. In Rafa we trust.

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