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Newcastle fans told that holding money back for January transfer window is sensible tactic but…

1 week ago
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I read a couple of articles about the January transfer window during the international break.

The debate being about Newcastle United holding money back to spend in the next window, rather than spending all the cash that was available.

The point made, or at least the implication being, that this was a sensible move as it meant you then had the money available if realising you needed to strengthen a particular position midway through the season.

I saw a number of Newcastle fans in agreement with this in comments/social media.

Ahead of the window, the club stated that there was £61m available to spend this (2019/20) season, plus money generated by sales.

These were the transfers in and out this summer (figures via Transfermarkt):

£39.60m Joelinton

£16.20m Allan Saint-Maximin

£4.86m Emil Krafth

£0.90m Jetro Willems (loan fee)

£0 Andy Carroll

Total spend = £61.56m

Outgoing

£30.06m Ayoze Perez

£2.02m Joselu

£0 Mohamed Diame

Total sold = £32.08m

So based on these figures, Newcastle United had a net spend of £29.48m in the summer.

Meaning in rounded up/down figures, around £31m/£32m of the transfer budget left unspent, or saved for January.

I don’t see any sense in this argument that claims this is a ‘sensible’ way to do things, as surely prevention is better than a cure? Indeed history tells us that there isn’t always a successful cure…

Back in summer 2015, Newcastle did spend around £50m (Mitro, Mbemba, Thauavin, Wijnaldum). However, this was due to Mike Ashley refusing to allow proper investment in previous windows and a pot of money building up. That spending didn’t prove enough to cover the lack of investment in previous windows and so the money that had been kept back, was then spent in January 2016 (some £30m on Shelvey, Townsend, Saivet) but the damage had already been done, with relegation the end result despite Rafa belatedly being brought in and ending the season with a six game run of three wins and three draws.

In summer 2012, despite a fifth place finish, Mike Ashley refused to allow any net spend to help build on that breakthrough season. Only Vurnon Anita was bought and his signing paid for by selling fringe players such as Fraser Forster. This lack of ambition and refusing to spend any net cash on the squad, led to a very demoralised and demotivated team, with relegation a real possibility. Mike Ashley belatedly then bought five players (Sissoko, Gouffran, Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy and Haidara) in January, with money that should have been spent the previous summer. Newcastle did survive on that occasion but it was only ensured when they beat QPR in the very final away game. If the money had been spent and players bought, there would have been no relegation battle and who knows where that team could have got to?

Back to the present day and it is quite clear that this team/squad needed far more strengthening in the summer than actually happened.

The most glaring thing is that another striker/goalscorer was 100% needed. They knew Dwight Gayle was knackered and out for the foreseeable, whilst Andy Carroll can in no way be relied upon and indeed it is late October now before there appears any chance of him getting on the pitch.

Instead of leaving £30m or so unspent and ‘saved’ for January, it should have been invested in the squad. If everything falls apart then the situation could already be hopeless by the time we get to this next window. Plus, the reality is that after that January 2020 window, there are only 14 Premier League matches left, only around a third of the season remaining for January signings to influence things.

Newcastle got lucky last season, after making a £20m+ profit, never mind any net investment, in summer 2018, £21m was spent on Miguel Almiron on the very final day of the January 2019 transfer window. He came on as a sub at Wolves in his first game and after that match there was only 12 games left, luckily he helped the team to a great run of results before injury hit.

A similar case the previous season, when far too low investment was made in the squad in summer 2017 and then actually no players were bought in January 2018 BUT Ashley got lucky when Rafa came up with Kenedy and Dubravka as cracking loan signings, key figures in turning that season around.

If Joelinton got injured, Newcastle would have serious problems. They may end up with serious issues anyway after the failure to properly invest in enough goals and creativity this summer.

Also, if proper investment had been made in this last window, then Newcastle might not have played such a weak team against Leicester and could have still been in the League Cup.

Plus of course we can never rule out that there will be no/minimal spend in January 2020 no matter what state the team is in – because repeatedly we have seen money pushed back, which was of course the case when money unspent from last season is said to have been included in that £61m supposedly available this season. Not to mention of course the £33m that wasn’t spent in summer 2018 and then Mike Ashley took it out of the club after the window closed.

As always, Mike Ashley is happy to gamble with Newcastle United and only time will tell whether this will end up proving to be yet another losing bet for him.

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