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Newcastle United insist haven’t missed out yet on any of their main transfer targets – Report

8 months ago

We are now at day 34 of the Newcastle United summer transfer window.

Only two weeks until the season kicks off.

So far, not a penny spent on transfer fees by Mike Ashley.

Only the free transfers of new third choice keeper Mark Gillespie and midfielder Jeff Hendrick so far.

Despite the lack of activity, Newcastle United ‘insist they have not missed out on anyone they wanted yet’ in this transfer window.

This claim coming via Luke Edwards from the Telegraph, a journalist who is best mates with the NUFC Head Coach. So we can safely assume that when he says Newcastle United ‘insist’, this message has come from Steve Bruce.

So out of all the players who have moved clubs this summer in the first five weeks of the window, the only player Newcastle wanted was Jeff Hendrick?

Hmmm. Before the end of last season, Steve Bruce told us that Newcastle had a number of prospective signings they were already in contact with and they hoped to sign as soon as the window opened, providing the Magpies could fight off competition from elsewhere.

The man from The Telegraph tells us that Newcastle United made an enquiry about versatile 23 year old (birthday today) versatile Arsenal defender / winger / midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles, only to withdraw when quoted £25m. Obviously the NUFC offer of a loan deal and paying part of the player’s wages was always ‘unlikely’ to succeed.

When Luke Edwards / Steve Bruce say that Newcastle have not missed out on anybody who they really wanted on their list of top targets, the cynics / sceptics amongst us, are bound to wonder then just how short this list is / was? Edwards indicating that the most exciting player in the Championship, Eberechi Eze, wasn’t really a target for Newcastle despite the speculation to the contrary, the attacking midfielder (14 goals for QPR last season) having now signed for Crystal Palace for close on £20m plus future add-ons.

A recent exclusive from The Mail said that they had spoken to a number of agents, who had been in contact with Newcastle this summer, and all the feedback was that NUFC had told agents they are mainly concentrating on free transfers and loan deals where they also hope they won’t need to pay all of the wages.

Today’s exclusive from The Telegraph says that Newcastle are amongst a host of clubs to enquire about taking Rhian Brewster on loan, the Liverpool striker having scored 11 goals in 21 Championship starts for Swansea last season. However, the newspaper says that Liverpool want to wait until later in the window to decide on a loan deal destination, or indeed whether they keep him at Anfield.

This is of course a massive extra problem if Mike Ashley is insisting on using loan deals instead of buying players, the best potential loan players at the top clubs, it is only usually late on in transfer windows before they are willing to let them go out on loan. Guarding against injuries to their first choice players in that position, or indeed at times whether or not big offers come in to buy players who aren’t close to first choice.

What about this though from Luke Edwards, who since day one has championed his mate Steve Bruce and had endless digs at Rafa Benitez:

‘Part of the problem for the Magpies is they have been unable to sell any of their fringe players because they were given generous contracts under former manager Rafa Benitez. These include Christian Atsu, Jacob Murphy, DeAndre Yedlin, Yoshinori Muto and Rolando Aarons.’

Every club has players who they would like to move on, the more proactive and best run clubs tend to be ruthless and do what it takes to get unwanted players out. Accepting that they are not going to get much money, if any, on such players and indeed may even need to pay money up front of future wages to get them out. Newcastle United under Mike Ashley are not one of those clubs.

It is laughable though to at this point to start trying to blame Rafa Benitez for the absolute mess that Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce are presiding over.

It is Mike Ashley who has insisted on giving out such long contracts to players, often / usually mediocre ones, especially if they are young. Does anybody really believe Rafa insisted on giving Rolando Aarons a five year contract back in August 2016 after giving him only 14 minutes on the pitch since arriving in March 2016? Aarons won’t be on a prohibitive amount of money anyway in terms of affecting incoming transfers.

I suppose then that it is Rafa’s fault as well that Henri Saivet was given a five and a half year contract back in January 2016, two months before he (Rafa) arrived?

No manager gets all transfers right, especially when trying to buy Premier League level players with sub-PL level transfer fees, having to take a risk on potential from a lower division (Murphy) or abroad (Muto).

No signings could be forced on Rafa Benitez but Mike Ashley blocked plenty of Rafa’s targets from arriving. I doubt very much that Benitez played any part in deciding wages and lengths of contracts, they would all have been signed off by Mike Ashley in the final analysis, though of course like any manager who is allowed to choose his own signings the Spaniard does have to take his share of responsibility for the successes as well as failures.

If this season ends in the kind of absolute chaos and disaster it is shaping up to be, the blame will need to be firmly pointed at Mike Ashley, as well as the likes of Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce in their supporting roles.


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