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Newcastle United contracts shambles – Only these two possible explanations

3 days ago
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The Newcastle United contracts shambles has now become a weekly debate.

Before each match, Steve Bruce is asked at his press conference for an update.

Each time he says there is no progress/substance to report.

On Friday it was business as usual…

Steve Bruce asked at the pre-Arsenal press conference why the club can’t just get its act together and sort new contracts for the Longstaff brothers:

“It isn’t as simple as that, it is every player’s prerogative (not to sign a new contract).

“Matty is the most important one because his deal runs out and obviously he’s got advisers who will be advising one thing.

“I had a conversation two weeks ago and I am desperate for him to stay but there has got to be ground given on both sides, I would have thought, but at the minute we can’t get there.

“I will be kept abreast of the situation but one thing I am not going to get involved in nowadays, is contracts.”

As things stand, this is when Newcastle United players see their current deals end:

June 2020 Carroll, Willems, Fernandez, Manquillo, Elliot, Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Rose, Bentaleb, Lazaro

June 2021 Clark, Schar, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle, Hayden, Yedlin, Atsu

June 2022 Dummett, Muto, Lejeune, Sean Longstaff

June 2023 Krafth

June 2024 Almiron

June 2025 Dubravka, Lascelles, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

Only 10 players are currently contracted beyond June 2021 and that includes the likes of Muto and Krafth who clearly aren’t Premier League level.

It also includes Sean Longstaff.

Steve Bruce says the contract for Matty Longstaff if the ‘most important one’ but I would argue that Sean’s situation is just as pressing, if indeed not more so.

Yes he is currently contracted to end of June 2022 but this contract was agreed before he had played one minute of Premier League football.

In a few months time Sean Longstaff will have been playing Premier League football for a year and a half and for that entire time been paid a pittance, a fraction of what his first team colleagues are earning, the elder Longstaff still paid Under 23s rates. How will that make him feel???

What is more, what will it tell any other young player at Newcastle who might have a chance of making it.

As a goodwill gesture, why won’t Mike Ashley make a unilateral move and bump up both the Longstaff brothers’ wages to at least a half decent level whilst talks continue on agreeing new extended contracts? Both brothers are playing first team football and yet Matty Longstaff is on a reported £850 a week, earning less in a year than some players who are behind him in the queue for first team football, earn in a week.

We also have this recurring problem we are back with, when Mike Ashley appoints a patsy/stooge such as Pardew, Carver, McClaren or Bruce, none of them having any say/power at the club beyond picking the team, yet they are sent out to talk about every aspect of the running of the club.

Rafa Benitez wanted to agree a budget and then use it as he saw fit to recruit and pay the players who he felt were important to the success/progress of the club. When Steve Bruce is asked these questions you might as well be asking whoever puts the bins out or does the laundry, anyway, enough about Lee Charnley…

The thing is, like those before him, Steve Bruce is more than willing to go out and face the media and act as a shield for Mike Ashley and his people.

It should be Mike Ashley or failing that his main man covering Newcastle United, Justin Barnes, who is telling fans why this extraordinary Newcastle United contracts shambles continues. Or failing that as a last resort, let them give Charnley a prepared script and get him in front of journalists to answer questions.

Whilst the contracts for Sean and particularly Matty Longstaff are the most talked about, it is far bigger than that.

Why would you allow an asset worth millions of pounds such as the younger Longstaff, end up in a situation where he could sign a pre-contract today that would see him leave at the end of June for just £400,000 development compensation? It makes absolutely no sense.

However, it makes just as little sense the situation with so many other more senior players as well.

Why were contract extensions not agreed with the likes of Manquillo and Darlow agreed last summer, or sell them, instead of letting them leave for nothing this summer.

Similarly, it is universally accepted that clubs are in a very weak position if they let contracts run down to just a single year left with the power then massively weighted on the side of players.

At the end of this season for example, you have Schar, Shelvey and Hayden all with only one season left on their deals. I would guess their combined transfer value is somewhere between £30m and £50m in today’s market but if any or all of them refuse to sign new deals, they could leave for far smaller amounts or indeed for nothing if they stay until the end of next season.

Only Martin Dubravka has agreed a new contract in the past year or more, not just the Longstaffs, why has not a single other player agreed a new deal…?

As I see it, there are only these two possible explanations as to why this Newcastle United contracts shambles continues.

Explanation Number One

It is due to the running of the club under Mike Ashley being a complete shambles, he and his yes men clueless.

Explanation Number Two

What is happening with Newcastle United contracts, whilst looking shambolic, is actually simply part of a brilliant and progressive long-term plan put together by Mike Ashley and his people. With all only becoming apparent in the summer when masses of superb planning behind the scenes comes to fruition, all the hopeless players leave and all the better quality players stay having accepted new long-term contracts, to go alongside a set of brilliant new ambitious signings. Meaning the club are totally sorted going into the years ahead, with a quality team playing attacking football and pushing ever higher up the table.

Now I know that it might be a little difficult for you to decide which of these two explanations is most likely but I am sure that with a bit of thought and 13 years experience of Mike Ashley, you will arrive at the correct answer…

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