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Opinion

Now becomes obvious that Newcastle United aren’t buying anybody in January transfer window

9 months ago
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There was a lot of talk before the January transfer window.

Talk that Newcastle United would be making significant moves to address the lack of quality in the team/squad.

Talk that Mike Ashley would be fully backing Steve Bruce with new signings.

Steve Bruce has indeed said this himself, claiming that Ashley showed how supportive he was in the summer and that was most definitely the case now.

However, as Newcastle fans we have seen this all before.

The exceptions prove the rule.

Mike Ashley allows Newcastle to buy players in the January transfer window, only when they are deep in relegation trouble.

The big exceptions under Ashley have been Papiss Cisse in January 2012, which was basically eventually spending some of the £35m received for Andy Carroll a year earlier.

The other one of course is Miguel Almiron in January 2019.

Summer 2018 had seen Rafa Benitez forced by Mike Ashley to make a £20m profit on transfers in and out, despite selling Mitro for £22m Rafa wasn’t even allowed to make a bid to buy Salomon Rondon, only a loan deal.

So buying Almiron for £16.5m plus add-ons based on hitting targets was only just about getting NUFC to zero spend on the season, never mind any net outlay on players. Plus, after the Paraguayan was signed on the very last day of the window, Almiron’s agent stated that the deal nearly didn’t happen as Mike Ashley was refusing to pay the asking price, the move went through on 31 January 2019 only because Atlanta United dropped the price.

Newcastle were in real danger of relegation this time last season and yet Mike Ashley would have been quite happy for Rafa Benitez to end up with no players bought in at all 12 months ago.

Lee Charnley promised there was £61m plus any cash from sales available to spend this season, which should mean around £28m to spend this month.

A massive red flag was raised when exactly halfway through this January transfer window, Steve Bruce made public he was having a transfer summit with Mike Ashley and afterwards said how well it went and he would be fully backed etc etc.

Predictably the newspapers slavishly talked it up, achieving Ashley’s PR objectives. Lots of positive media coverage about him willing to spend, show ambition, back the head coach…despite not buying any players.

This season’s ridiculous Steve Bruce luck has continued, despite not a single save to make for either the Chelsea or Everton keeper in the 90 minutes, Newcastle have somehow walked away with four points in the added time in the last week.

If NUFC were now three points above the relegation zone rather than the seven, would Mike Ashley now be allowing player(s) to be bought? Who know…but what we do know, is that it would be surely more likely to happen. A lot more chance of doing what is needed to preserve Premier League status, as opposed to showing ambition.

Very mixed messages from Steve Bruce, as always. Loves to talk and talk just like Alan Pardew, ideal for Mike Ashley. The journalists love him and why not, unlike Rafa generally playing his cards close to his chest, Bruce is happy to talk about anything and everything, even when he contradicts himself.

Steve Bruce said that Newcastle were desperate to bring in a striker (goalscorer) this month.

Later he then says that it is a delicate balancing act because very soon he could have Carroll, Muto and Gayle all available.

That is Gayle, Carroll and Muto who haven’t scored a Premier League goal between them this season, the first two struggle to even get on the pitch and sadly Muto is hopeless.

We are yet again one of the clubs only looking to see what scraps can be picked up in the loan market.

Not high end loans where significant loan fees are paid, loan deals with a clause ensuring the player will be bought and made permanent in the summer, high wages taken on and players who clubs may be reluctant to part with.

Instead, we are simply in the mix for the players that other clubs are desperate to move on, who are drains on their wage bill and who are rarely, if ever, getting a game.

Unless Mike Ashley gets an absolute bargain we aren’t signing anybody.

Hull want £20m+ for the Championship’s hottest property Jarrod Bowen, scoring and creating goals for fun, media reports say Mike Ashley has allowed a £12m offer plus future add-ons, that Hull have simply laughed at.

Desperate for goals and creativity, so far Newcastle have signed Nabil Bentaleb on loan. Dropped into training and playing with the reserves at the end of last season and kept there this season, he hasn’t played any first team football in nine months.

The midfielder has scored penalties but hasn’t scored in open play since November 2016, fully 38 months ago. Bentaleb last got an assist in 2018 and indeed only has 12 in all competitions (source WhoScored), for all clubs, in a seven year club career. It is a loan deal until the end of the season with an £8.5m buying option.

I really hope he is a success but is he what Newcastle need. Is it yet another case of he was a cheap option who was willing to come to Newcastle due to no decent alternative clubs. Yet again appearing to bring in a player for a position we aren’t desperate for – I think we already have our fill of kind of ok central midfielders who don’t score or create many/any goals. That is before we get to the fact of central midfield is the ONLY outfield position that injuries aren’t seriously affecting.

Newcastle United will not buy anybody in this January transfer window, I hope I am wrong but I doubt it.

It is dreamland to think that cheap loans will deliver the quality in attacking areas that Newcastle are desperate for.

If there was any serious intent of proper investment this month, transfer summits would have been happening in November and December, not the middle of January.

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