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Opinion

Newcastle United borrow 3 players for 14 matches and don’t sign a goalscorer – Is that success?

6 months ago
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Newcastle United are back in Premier League action on Saturday.

That game kicking off only hours after this January transfer window closes.

We have reached day 31 of 31, as at 11pm tonight, that window slams shut.

When your club signs any new player it always creates some extra spark.

A new player coming into the squad, wondering how he will get on, where he will play, who he will replace…and so on.

The thing is as well, no matter what player it is and how many times you have watched matches they have played in previously, it is only when they start playing for your team that you really watch them and get a proper idea of what they’re like.

With Nabil Bentaleb, I kind of recognised the name but if I’m honest I can’t remember what he was like for Tottenham, nor do I watch German football.  I thought he looked poor last Saturday against Oxford but he was in good company and I’m certainly not going to write him off based on one first team game, his first in nine months.

As for Danny Rose, obviously we all know about him.

Whilst with Valentino Lazaro, I had never heard of him, but he was a young player in demand last summer and went to Inter Milan for £20m, so keen to see if he can add some spark to our team.

So those are our three signings and the media appear in agreement that it is very likely the only deadline day action will be players heading out of Newcastle.

As I say, I look forward to see what any new signing can do, but if we rewind back to December…

Newcastle fans were pretty unanimous that the massive overwhelming priority was to add goals, especially a credible striker who looks the part.

We move into February and only 24 goals scored in 24 PL games, even that small number of goals (as well as the 30 points total) has been massively down to luck and the defence (who have also scored 12 of the 24 goals).

On Saturday we are two thirds of the way into the season and between them: Joelinton, Carroll, ASM, Muto, Gayle, Almiron and Atsu have scored four Premier League goals between them this season.

Yet the three January loans….

Danny Rose – Hasn’t scored a Premier League goal since 2016.

Nabil Bentaleb – Hasn’t scored a league goal (apart from penalties) since 2016.

Valentino Lazaro –  Has only scored five league goals these past three seasons and admits himself that he is more of a creator of chances for others.

Where are the goals going to come from?

I suppose the argument that some would use is that by adding these players, especially Lazaro, they will help Newcastle create more chances.

However, whilst I look forward to see how all three of them get on and hope they are the answer(s), I would happily have swapped all three for a credible striker to be signed.

I get the impression that Steve Bruce has no choice in the matter, he has to play Joelinton every game so that Mike Ashley can prove he was ‘right’ to insist that £40m (£43m according to Ashley) was spent on the Brazilian. Which then meant Newcastle were never going to sign a new goalscoring striker in January.

The reality of course is that we are bringing in players on temporary deals who have played so little football in recent times, can we really expect them to click so quickly, which they need to do with only 14 PL games remaining.

It is almost 11 months since Bentaleb started a league match, Lazaro has started three league games in the past nine months, whilst Rose has started one league game in the last three months.

We haven’t even touched on the fact that they are only here to get some time on the pitch, certainly in the cases of Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro.

Neither have any intention of playing for Newcastle next season, their priority is getting games to stay fit and try to ensure they then make the England and Austria squads for the Euros this summer. If they play well for Newcastle in these 14 PL matches then of course we also benefit but to make out these are brilliant deals overall for NUFC is delusion in the extreme.

I would be excited if instead of three loan deals we had bought just one out of Danny Rose or Valentino Lazaro, especially Lazaro because he has his best years in front of him. I struggle to get really excited at the thought of Lazaro playing really well in some of these remaining 14 games and then he goes back to Inter, or even possibly signs for an ambitious PL club such as Wolves or Leicester who were impressed with what he did in his brief time at Newcastle.

These aren’t January signings to help build a better Newcastle United, just a couple of sticking plasters at best. I see Bentaleb as a lower quality player (than the other two) and obviously he needs to get away from Schalke after falling out with the manager. Maybe possible we would sign him with say Hayden potentially leaving in the summer but would we be any better off?

I see Sheffield United paying £22m for the young exciting Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge, Wolves once again showing ambition buying players such as £17m winger Daniel Podence, whilst Palace are set to possibly bring in on deadline day arguably the two best young prospects in the Championship – £16m on Jarrod Bowen (although West Ham now challenging Palace, Newcastle nowhere in sight for what was supposedly our top target…) and £10m on Nathan Ferguson (West Brom forced to sell the teenager now as he refuses to sign a new contract and could move on at the end of the season with WBA only getting less than £1m development compensation).

Fans are conned into thinking January is all about loans but we need to look beyond our Newcastle United conditioning.

Ahead of deadline day, I make it that at least 11 of the other 19 PL clubs have made permanent signings and that as well as the three NUFC loans, the 19 other clubs have made 15 permanent signings and seven loans.

Whatever happened to that takeover…?

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