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Opinion

That awful dawning realisation when you realise they really think Newcastle are signing Philippe Coutinho

5 months ago
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Philippe Coutinho is just one of the fun names that has been thrown about in recent weeks.

The imminent arrival of financially powerful owners, meaning the media have had free rein to invent stories claiming bids have already been made on any number of glittering signings.

The reasoning is, that as Newcastle United will have the richest club owners in the world, they can then afford to buy pretty much any player in the world…

The newspapers and other media have mainly concentrated on players who were already strongly rumoured to be moving on this summer.

The big difference though, is that instead of lazily / cynically linking Newcastle with the usual £10m-£3om bracket players, it is those in the £50m-£100m+ range.

It is all good harmless fun (so long as nobody takes it seriously…) and something to fill the time in until the Newcastle United takeover actually happens and we see what they will then do.

That is of course, until you get that awful dawning realisation when you realise there are many fans out there who really think Newcastle are signing Philippe Coutinho…

Yes, they do exist.

I had seen growing numbers honestly thinking / believing this and then Thursday I watched on as various NUFC fans posted some cripplingly embarrassing comments in response to an article.

The article was actually on The Mag (Salomon Rondon and not Philippe Coutinho needs to be first signing after Newcastle United takeover) and the writer was making the point that in the real world, we are not going to be instantly at the stage of being able to attract or afford players such a Philippe Countinho, plus in reality, other lower priced players are probably more suited anyway to what we need in the early stages under new owners.

It at least gave me a few laughs as I realised just how naive (thick…?) so many Newcastle fans are. So obviously believing that it will indeed be a case of the Saudi PIF owners appointing whichever manager and him having an open cheque book to sign absolutely anybody he wants. Just write your shopping list down and we”ll pay whatever it takes to bring them to St James Park.

As always, the most ignorant and embarrassing people were some of those responding on social media, seeing the title of the article on the likes of Twitter and Facebook and reacting, not even bothered enough or intelligent enough to even read the article first!

Never mind justifying why the likes of Philippe Coutinho or Kalidou Koulibaly would want to come to Newcastle at this point, they wouldn’t make any sense as signings for NUFC either.

Financial Fair Play (FFP) was brought in to to try and control what clubs spend on transfer fees and wages, that they wouldn’t spend way higher than what clubs bring in from various revenue streams. Spending on youth development (Academy etc) and infrastructure (expanding / improving the stadium and / or training ground) are exempt for the purposes of FFP.

Premier League rules are that you can’t lose any more than £105m over a three year period, whilst for the Champions League the figures on allowed losses are far lower, if you want to take up a place if qualifying via performance on the pitch.

Due to Mike Ashley insisting on no ambition and making a profit in recent years, football finance experts have calculated that Newcastle might be able to spend up to £150m in the next transfer window without breaking the PL’s FFP rules.

However, once you have paid the likes of Lee Charnley, Steve Bruce and his coaching team off and brought in a decent manager on a high wage, I reckon you are already adding £15m to £20m on spending next season. To then pay£80m or so for Philippe Coutinho and at least match his current £20m a year wages…you are already up to adding another £100m spending next season on top of bringing in the new manager and paying his wages.

Dropping Philippe Countinho into our current average team with no other signings would be plain daft.

If you then say add both Philippe Coutinho and Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, just look at the finances involved. Koulibaly is much in demand so I would guess you are paying at least as much for him as you would do Coutinho.

Philippe Coutinho turns 28 in June and the same month Kalidou Koulibaly turns 29.

So lets say each one of the pair would cost £80m, a total of £160m on transfer fees.

Then a four year contract for each at say £20m each in wages per season.

So for transfer fees and wages it would be £200m on the pair paid out in 2020/21, then £40m for each of the next three seasons on wages for the pair.

Even at the most optimistic, it would take at least two seasons to qualify for the Champions League, so if NUFC did qualify for the 2022/23 CL competition, both Koulibaly and Coutinho would be in their thirties, almost certainly in decline by then.

Then after three years at Newcastle, in June 2023, Philippe Coutinho would be 31 and Kalidou Koulibaly 32, with very low resale value, if any. Bottom line, this would be a massive amount of money to have spent on just two players, probably around £300m.

If Newcastle United did have something like £100m-£150m to spend on players this summer, then Salomon Rondon could make perfect sense as one of a number of signings. I reckon maybe £10m transfer fee and far lower wages than a Coutinho, so only a small dent in the budget, then bring in a younger quick striker as well, ditching the likes of Joelinton, Muto and Gayle to help finance the spending. Newcastle desperately in need as well of two quality full-backs / wing-backs, as well as better quality in midfield.

The new Saudi owners will be doing everything they can to seriously increase revenues and I reckon potentially by the third season, you can be looking at these kind of Coutinho and Koulibaly signings, both in terms of affording and attracting them.

However, they most definitely won’t be happening this summer.

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