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Opinion

Where has the other £28m of the Newcastle United transfer budget gone?

5 days ago
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Steve Bruce was talking about Newcastle United and the January transfer window on Friday.

As usual, the Newcastle United PR machine is getting into gear.

The NUFC Head Coach now apparently reining in (any remote) expectations, with the window opening in less than five weeks time.

Steve Bruce saying that he is ‘Happy with the squad and I’ve not seen them in total yet.’

Bruce adding that: ‘If there’s someone out there to improve us in January, then we will have a look at it.’

It sounds very reminiscent of what we got used to hearing when Alan Pardew was the PR mouthpiece at St James Park.

Asked about Newcastle’s plans for January, Steve Bruce – 29 November 2019:

“It is always to look at but I’m happy with the squad and I’ve not seen them in total yet.

“If there is someone out there to improve us in January then we will have a look at it.

“It is very difficult as people don’t want to sell their best players in January.

“A difficult, difficult month (window)….’

This is in contrast to the media (especially local media) repeatedly claiming (since the summer transfer window ended…) that Newcastle are chasing all kinds of transfer targets for January.

The claims/speculation have significantly increased throughout November.

Indeed, early last month, Steve Bruce claimed that Newcastle were looking to sign a midfielder as he said the team/squad was short in that area. Also, it was widely reported at the time that the NUFC Head Coach was also aiming to bring in a striker (goalscorer) next month.

With expectations/hopes seemingly been reined in by Steve Bruce and the club, it seems a fitting time to ask where has the missing £28m has gone?

Back in April of this year, Lee Charnley insisted that there would be £61m available to be spent on signings in the next year (summer 2019 window and the January 2020 one), plus money from the sales of any players.

At the time many fans took this as a PR move from Mike Ashley trying to make it look as though Rafa Benitez was making unreasonable demands, as in why wouldn’t he be content with this £61m to be spent on players plus cash from sales? It obviously later became clear that Ashley indeed had never had any intention or wish to try and persuade Rafa to stay.

This summer gone, Newcastle paid out a maximum of £65m on Joelinton – £40m, Krafth – £5m and Saint-Maximin – £20m (although a lot of reports put that figure at £16.5m). Then the club recouped £30m for Perez and £2m for Josulu.

So with £65m (at the most) spent on buying players and recouping £32m, that means a net spend of £33m.

Meaning there should be £28m available to spend in January…

The thing is as well, with the Ayoze Perez deal is was surely £30m up front and not in instalments. Mike Ashley said he wasn’t happy about losing Perez for ‘only’ £30m and while he had that figure as a trigger for a transfer, it wouldn’t have obliged NUFC to take only a small amount up front. So that whole £30m will have all gone into the NUFC coffers, unless of course Mike Ashley was lying…and he had been happy to sell on Ayoze Perez, accepting instalment terms to help it go through.

It has been a season of ups and downs so far and whilst the draw against Man City was a boost, Newcastle are only four points off relegation and that would become three points if Norwich win on Sunday.

The club needs more quality and Steve Bruce himself has already said Newcastle need a central midfielder.

Personally, I think that £28m (and anything from January sales) should be spent next month and my priorities would be a goalscorer AND doing a deal to tie up Jetro Willems on a permanent transfer for the reported £10m buying clause.

Why wait until the end of the season and risk Willems going elsewhere, if he keeps this form up and a more attractive club turns his head?

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