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Opinion

Mike Ashley now set for second biggest transfer net spend in 27 Newcastle transfer windows

1 week ago
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Looking like a typically disastrous Mike Ashley transfer window, the opening 42 days of the 2020 summer window had seen Newcastle United spend nothing.

Only free transfers Mark Gillespie and Jeff Hendrick having arrived.

The only positive was that nobody of real note had left, only those out of contract at the end of last season, plus some younger players out on loan.

With only days left to go before the new Premier League season kicks off, Newcastle United burst into life.

In the space of 24 hours or so we saw a reported £35m spent on Callum Wilson (£20m) and Jamal Lewis (£15m), as well as Mike Ashley paying enhanced wages to Ryan Fraser, who had ran his contract down at Bournemouth so he could leave as a free agent and demand a lot more personal money due to no transfer fee.

The big story has been yet another apparent seismic shift in the Mike Ashley transfer ‘strategy’, going from young overseas players in weaker leagues who will hopefully increase in value, to older domestic players who have already experienced life with Premier League clubs and (apart from Lewis potentially) will not increase in value Fraser is a free transfer signing so could of course be sold in the future but surely he is at peak valuation as a player now).

Anyway, a story that has been missed, is that as things currently are, this is a stand out transfer window for another reason…

Newcastle United transfer market net spends at Newcastle United (transfers fees paid and received in brackets – stats via Transfermarkt):

+£5m 2007/08 (£34m and £29m)

-£5m 2008/09 (£32m and £37m)

-£19m 2009/10 (£5m and £24m)

-£25m 2010/11 (£13m and £38m)

+£10m 2011/12 (£24m and £14m)

+£15m 2012/13 (£28m and £13m)

-£20m 2013/14 (£3m and £23m)

+£19m 2014/15 (£40m and £21m)

+£92m 2015/16 (£97m and £5m)

-£33m 2016/17 (£58m and £91m)

+£23m 2017/18 (£42m and £19m)

+£8m 2018/19 (£54m and £46m)

+£33m 2019/20 (£65m and £32m)

+£35m 2020/21 (£35m and £0m)

As you can see above, whether or not Mike Ashley allows any more players to be bought, so long as nobody is sold, it makes this 14th season the highest net spend of Ashley’s entire 14 year reign.

It obviously says more about how dismal things have been during his time in charge but unless there are players leaving for a fee, it is the second highest net spend in any of the 27 Mike Ashley transfer windows, apart from summer 2015 when almost £60m was spent and only nominal fees received for Abeid and Kemen.

Mike Ashley was desperate that summer and allowed the significant net spend after NUFC had only survived on the final day for sure when beating West Ham (Jonas Gutierrez scoring in a man of the match display).

Once again, Mike Ashley has seen a certain relegation battle lying ahead this coming season and ripped up his own ridiculous transfer plan of buying a team of Joelintons, for the more pragmatic praying that Premier League battle-hardened players will supply survival. Ashley accepting he has to match / pay Premier League level wages for these signings and up to now, that second biggest ever net spend. Not massive for other clubs but for Mike Ashley he won’t have done it lightly.

However, when it comes to his aim of Premier League survival he has proved in the past he can be pragmatic. In that 2015/16 season he actually allowed another £30m or so to be spent in January 2016 as Steve McClaren was steering Newcastle into the second tier. This desperate spend didn’t prevent that, bringing in a decent manager was left far too late, Rafa not arriving until March.

January 2013 was another time Mike Ashley went pragmatic, suddenly allowing the five French players to be signed within a matter of days, having disastrously refused to allow any net spend after the fifth place finish of 2011/12. Ashley almost turning fifth place into relegation in a matter of months, only for that January 2013 panic spending to help save NUFC from the drop.

Another interesting and very bizarre statistic is when you look at Steve Bruce’s 14 months at Newcastle United.

Mike Ashley has allowed £100m to be spent in the transfer market since Bruce’s arrival BUT as things stand, not a single player has been sold in that time.

After today there are 24 days remaining in this transfer window, here’s hoping there are no late Mike Ashley nasty surprises as we have seen in the past, late in windows…

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