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Mike Ashley has told Steve Bruce the Newcastle United transfer budget has been halved – Report

2 months ago
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An interesting update on Sunday morning about the level of money that Mike Ashley is going to allow to be spent in this summer transfer window.

We are 14 days into the transfer window and so far nothing has been spent, all a bit worrying when pre-season squad preparations begin in a week’s time and less than five weeks before the Premier League kicks off the 2020/21 season.

To add to those concerns, the Chronicle say that Mike Ashley has made clear to Steve Bruce that the Newcastle United transfer budget has been halved.

The newspaper says that originally, assuming no takeover, Mike Ashley was going to allow a budget of £60m for the new season which would be partly financed by the ability to ‘sell smart’, but that this budget has now being slashed to around £30m, including whatever ‘sell smart’ moves Mike Ashley imposes on the team / squad.

I’m not sure what was ‘sell smart’ when Mike Ashley made no effort at all to keep player of the year Salomon Rondon (11 goals) and Ayoze Perez (12) who scored 23 Premier League goals between them in 2018/19, plus Rondon got seven assists.

Mike Ashley forcing Rafa Benitez out so he (Ashley) could have control of the transfers in and out, bringing in eight signings last (2019/20) season who only scored eight PL goals between them – Carroll 0, Joelinton 2, Krafth 0, Willems 2, Rose 0, Bentaleb 0, ASM 3, Lazaro 1.

The Chronicle talk of NUFC having a ‘financial model’ as though it is some carefully thought out strategy, when instead it is simply a policy of not investing anything more than comes in and relying on things like Perez suddenly attracting a £30m transfer fee. Reality now is that apart from Allan Saint-Maximin, no NUFC player would get a bid of £20m and those that would (Almiron and Lascelles) are crucial to the team for next season, whilst ASM is more than crucial, considering Newcastle only won once last season in the PL when he didn’t start last season.

As for the Chronicle’s assertion that ‘Newcastle’s model now means loans and free agents must feature’, well what’s new?

Of the nine signings made since Steve Bruce arrived to be Ashley’s latest puppet, four have been loans (Bentaleb, Rose, Willems and Lazaro), two frees (Carroll, Gillespie) and only three transfer fees paid (ASM, Joelinton and Krafth).

I would be amazed if Newcastle even spent £30m this summer, unless Mike Ashley cashed in on ASM, which would be disastrous with a team that has so little creativity and goals.

I see very much a reliance on frees and loans.

With frees you very often get what you pay for, whilst with loans, to stand any chance of getting the better ones available, you often have to wait until deep into the transfer window once the top clubs have decided who they can afford to let go out on loan. The big extra problem this summer with this, is that the transfer window doesn’t close until almost four weeks into the season, meaning if you are waiting for those better quality loan options, you may be deep in trouble before they can be signed and have any potential impact.

Mike Ashley needs to break his ‘model’ this summer if he wants to protect his asset and guard against relegation, higher spending on better players and a willingness to buy players on instalments, like pretty much every other club does, looks essential to me.

The Chronicle report:

‘The budget has been cut – by as much as a half – and in an honest conversation last week Mike Ashley admitted as much to Steve Bruce.

They are not alone by any stretch of the imagination but their entire financial model has been undermined by what has happened in the last year.

The plan was to keep banking the Premier League prize money and TV funds, sell smart and ensure a budget of around £60million a year that could be used to buy one or two “game changers” in the mould of Allan Saint-Maximin.

But when revenues are impacted as profoundly as they have been and the transfer market is scrambled, Newcastle’s model now means loans and free agents must feature.’

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