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Opinion

The embarrassing free transfers to Newcastle United claims have once again resurfaced

2 months ago
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I have just seen a list of free transfers that Newcastle United could sign this summer.

I will save the embarrassment of this local paper that has ran this lame piece, by not naming them (the newspaper).

The free transfers named, there is absolutely no chance of any of them signing for Newcastle United.

Amongst those named was Mario Balotelli.

His time is up at Marseille and does anybody actually think Mike Ashley is going to be willing to make Balotelli the top earner at Newcastle, probably on pretty much twice what any other player is on?

The same with the likes of Felipe Luis at Atletico Madrid, another name on this particular list. The Brazilian defender turns 34 in August and will be looking for one final big payday.

These articles of Newcastle potentially signing free transfers crop up around this time every year, whether it is from European clubs or other Premier League clubs.

Newspapers lazily just publishing lists of players who are set to be out of contract.

No doubt they run the very same article for any number of clubs, simply changing Newcastle to Southampton, West Ham, Crystal Palace, whoever…

The bottom line is that free transfers are a waste of time where Newcastle United are concerned.

The ones who would/could be decent signings, Mike Ashley would never allow Newcastle to go for them because very good older players who can still do it, would expect wages beyond what NUFC would pay. With no transfer fee to pay, the natural expectation of a player being that some of that saving on a free transfer would come to then in terms of wages and/or signing on fee.

That most definitely doesn’t fit into Mike Ashley’s tunnel vision of only signing younger players who could rise in value and be potentially/probably be sold on.

As for any free transfers that Ashley might/would be willing to go for, they would also be pointless. If Newcastle/Ashley were matching their wage expectations then there would be something wrong with them, whether ongoing injury issues, knackered, or just basically not very good.

We have had odd low key/price free transfers in more recent times, such as Jesus Gamez. However, at minimal cost/risk and not working out, pointing to why nobody else was desperate to sign them.

Like a lot of other things at Newcastle United, Mike Ashley is very reactionary. If something doesn’t work out then his reaction is over the top.

On free transfers, I blame Sam Allardyce.

The one transfer window Allardyce had, he didn’t spend a massive amount on transfer fees, around £20m in summer 2007, with around half of that recouped on sales.

However, he put the NUFC owner off pricey free transfers for life.

Viduka and Geremi arrived from Boro and Chelsea, with the pair both widely reported to be on £100,000 a week each. Bear in mind this is 12 years ago and Jonjo Shelvey is now said to be NUFC’s biggest wage earner on £80,000 a week, most on far less.

Like Sam Allardyce, the two players were a waste of time and just like the manager, their attitude was shocking.

Cacapa was a third free transfer and he was just as poor though not as expensive.

That window I think also led to Mike Ashley’s over the top overall attitude to wages, for example, Smith and Barton were brought in for £6m each, not huge transfer fees, but both got very big five year contracts at £60,000 a week each. Marseille’s experienced captain Habib Beye also came in on big wages but low (£2m) transfer fee due to age.

Newcastle got a few quid back from Villa for Beye but for the other four (Geremi, Viduka, Smith and Barton) Newcastle didn’t recoup a penny.

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