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Jeff Hendrick signing not a disaster on its own but part of disastrous Newcastle ‘plan’ that’s building

1 month ago
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From Kylian Mbappe to Jeff Hendrick.

It kind of sums up the overall change of mood of Newcastle United fans due to the events of recent days, weeks and months.

Nobody seriously thought Mbappe would be playing in black and white next season BUT it was fun to go along with the invented media stories of the prospective new owners signing the French genius.

The upbeat mood of the Newcastle supporters believing that the ambitious new owners WERE going to deliver a better class of signing this summer, even if not quite on the Mbappe (Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Kane) level just yet.

With only four weeks until the 2020/21 season kicks off and not a single player brought in during the three weeks of the transfer window so far, it is a very sobering process when Mbappe dreams have been replaced by Jeff Hendrick (no disrespect) nightmares.

Hendrick is the big transfer story dominating Newcastle United headlines ahead of the season, can NUFC land the 28 year old free transfer midfielder who doesn’t score goals (only nine in four seasons at Burnley.

Jeff Hendrick isn’t the worst player in the world but he isn’t any better, or even as good (in my opinion) as the options we currently have, who aren’t exactly outstanding either. He looks just your typical low ability hard working midfielder, who in a decent team can probably do a job as the water carrier for others, but who in a team of other very average players will just lower the quality further.

He hasn’t signed yet of course but there is every indication that Hendrick will, providing Newcastle can fight off the competition…journalists happy to repeat ludicrous claims that Roma and AC Milan were interested in the free transfer midfielder.

I hear those people who claim that Jeff Hendrick signing isn’t a terrible move as a squad player etc etc. I agree he isn’t a disaster of a move on its own BUT it would be part of a disastrous Newcastle ‘plan’ that’s building and building.

Without the takeover, Mike Ashley has been steering and is continuing to now steer HMS Newcastle United ever closer to that iceberg.

In the past year these are the players that have signed contracts as part of the Newcastle United first team squad.

Dubravka, Carroll, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Gillespie and Fernandez. During the coming season these players will respectively turn 32, 32, 27, 31, 29, 29 and 32.

It isn’t that I think all of these new contracts were a mistake but a rapidly ageing low quality squad seeing this kind of ‘plan’, is just asking for big trouble.

Whilst I think the Dubravka new deal and an extra year for Fernandez were no-brainers, I can’t work up any / much enthusiasm for the rest. Manquillo is decent back-up as second or third choice but is clearly set to be first choice.

I can’t believe they gave permacrock Carroll another season, whilst for me Ritchie looks to be losing any pace he ever had, whilst Shelvey is in a massive comfort zone and moving towards his 30s is going to get even less mobile!

Again, as squad players seeing better players coming in on top of them, you can understand these deals , or at least some of these to some extent. However, when we are talking instead about them being first choice in many cases next season, with no better quality coming in, just how much luck with Steve Bruce need this time!

If Newcastle United are handing out new contracts, the priorities surely had to be 23 year old ASM, by a mile our best player in the attacking half and surely a no-brainer to quickly give him an enhanced contract to show him how much he is valued. I would say the same for 26 year old Miguel Almiron, not a superstar but in our team a player second only to ASM in terms of influencing things in attack, in a more attacking set-up than Bruce’s we would undoubtedly far more for him.

Sean Longstaff (22) is a Premier League level player and yet Mike Ashley has refused to allow a decent contract to be offered, the midfielder still on the contract he signed 20 months ago in December 2018 before he had played a single midfield minute. I bet he feels really valued after being the first very decent player to come through the youth system in forever! I don’t think his 20 year old brother Matty is the same level but surely he was worth a decent contract just in case he can progress further, rather than allowing him to leave for only £400,000 development money.

Steve Bruce and the Ashley media have been happy to portray the Longstaffs as greedy and unreasonable, as opposed to Mike Ashley. Well, we all know the truth on that one. The only two decent level players to come through at Newcastle and yet Ashley refuses them a market level pay deal, what does that tell any other potential emerging young talent at the club?

Happy to pay the wages for Bentaleb and Rose who were both really poor on loan and looked less than committed at times, also seemingly willing to pay the wages for Jeff Hendrick, yet his (Ashley’s) rigid / stupid ideas on what young emerging talent should be paid, is a completely different matter.

Isaac Hayden aged 25 is another one, easily Newcastle’s best midfielder last season. He has less than a year left on his current deal and in the past has said about wanting to move south due to family reasons BUT why not throw a really big contract his way, which could be a game-changer?

If recent months had seen new contracts for ASM, Almiron, Hayden and the Longstaffs, plus other young talent targeted from elsewhere, along with the odd sensible contract for more experienced players such as Dubravka and Fernandez, I would have a decent amount of optimism for 2020/21 even with / despite Mike Ashley still being here. Even more so if we replaced Steve Bruce with a decent manager.

However, we are instead drifting ever faster and closer to that iceberg, man the lifeboats because disaster is rushing closer under Mike Ashley’s grand ‘plan’.

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