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Opinion

So many Newcastle United fans too easily pleased by this transfer window as it closed

4 weeks ago
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Newcastle United fans endured the final hours of Sky Sports coverage, before they could say farewell to the summer 2020 transfer window.

After 11pm on Monday (5 October) night, Newcastle now won’t be able to do any loan or permanent deals with other Premier League clubs, nor from leagues in other countries.

Although there is a quirk this time, not sure why, in that there are an extra 11 days up to and including Friday 16 October, when Newcastle and the other 19 Premier League clubs CAN still deals in and out with Championship, League One and League Two clubs.

However, very unlikely Newcastle United fans will see any players bought from the lower league, indeed Steve Bruce has stated that no more permanent deals are going to be made, whilst Championship clubs prepared to loan their best players would be a bit of a strange one, unless they absolutely desperately had to get the wages off the books for the season.

Instead, we will no doubt see a number of players heading out to lower league English clubs, almost certainly on loan, in the coming days.

So then, on that basis, how has the summer 2020 transfer window been for you?

Just to recap, this has been the action in and out:

IN:

Free Mark Gillespie

Free Jeff Hendrick

£20m Callum Wilson from Bournemouth

Free Ryan Fraser

£13.5m Jamal Lewis from Norwich

£250,000 Rodrigo Vilca from Deportivo Municipal

OUT:

£300,000 Dan Barlaser to Rotherham

Free Rob Elliot released

Free Jack Colback released

Loan Florian Lejeune to Alaves

Loan Yoshinori Muto to Eibar

Loan Freddie Woodman to Swansea

Always hard to gauge these days because a bit like graffiti, social media can distort things due to a small number of very active people, BUT so many Newcastle United fans appear too easily pleased by this transfer window as it closed.

Put it this way, I think if I had to rate the transfer window just closed, I would probably say 6 or at best 6.5 out of 10. Whereas I get the feeling that numerous NUFC supporters are thinking 9 or 9.5, no doubt some of the more delirious thinking 11 out of 10, which is what happens when you have Mike Ashley as the owner for now 14 seasons and counting…

I think what Newcastle United needed from this summer 2020 transfer window was: two goalscoring strikers, a midfield playmaker who can run with the ball and link up play – score and create goals, a centre-back, a right-back, a left-back (two ideally), plus a winger.

So that was seven new players, eight ideally.

Out of that wish (essential) list of seven (accepting we were never going to get both left-backs needed), we got one of the goalscoring strikers (Callum Wilson) Newcastle desperately needed, a left-back (Jamal Lewis) and the winger (Ryan Fraser).

Yes we needed a new third choice keeper so Mark Gillespie is fine in place of Rob Elliot, Rodrigo Vilca is a signing for the development squad at the moment, whilst for me Jeff Hendrick is an ok squad player (not the creative goalscoring midfield playmaker etc etc).

So basically we have signed three of the seven (ideally eight) that I think Newcastle needed.

The thing is, we were very needing to play catch up from Mike Ashley’s lack of credible action previously.

A year ago Newcastle needed pretty much all of my essential wishlist above, excluding the centre-back probably) but ASM was the only credible signing brought in.

In 2019/20, no permanent left-back signing was brought in yet again, they tried to do it on the cheap as usual at right-back and got somebody (Krafth) who was worse than what we already had (Manquillo), instead of two goalscoring strikers the collective brains of Ashley and Bruce brought in Joelinton and Carroll, whilst no midfield playmaker arrived who was capable of running with the ball and linking up play.

Whilst Callum Wilson is clearly a good signing and both Lewis and Fraser look to potentially be also decent ones as well, I see clear gaps still remaining that desperately needed filling.

If Wilson gets injured we have absolutely no alternative goalscorer to come in, apart from possibly Gayle and that won’t be until we get to 2021 and he could be back from injury.

This season we have already seen the likes of Hayden and Krafth having to play as emergency centre-backs and in one game Steve Bruce ended up playing three right-backs in the same back four. Ongoing injury worries surround the likes of Clark, Dummett and Schar, with also Lascelles now having hamstring issues.

Still no real quality right-back and no mobile playmaker to link up play.

People point to how many players Newcastle United have but there has been a complete failure to move on the players who clearly needed to be, in large part to make room for the signings that did need to be made and to help finance the new arrivals.

Yes you will point to the likes of Aarons, Lazaar and Saivet but I am talking more so about players such as Ritchie, Krafth, Yedlin, Carroll, Joelinton, Murphy and others, even Schar as Steve Bruce clearly doesn’t rate him, so what is the point of keeping him?

If we can keep Wilson and ASM on the pitch then Newcastle will always have a chance going forward, ASM doing something totally on his own like against Burnley, or Wilson scoring poacher’s goals such as at West Ham.

However, because there have been a failure to properly refresh the squad, Newcastle are left with an unbalanced squad yet again. Under Steve Bruce, the defence went from being the seventh best in the Premier League in 2017/18 and 2018/19 in terms of goals conceded, to being the seventh worst last season.

Whilst you had to go back to 1997/98 for a season when fewer PL goals were scored.

I think Jamal Lewis will help improve Newcastle going forward but I’m not that convinced he alone can make much, if any, difference in terms of reducing goals conceded.

Having one goalscorer in the squad now, is obviously a big improvement on none, but still very precarious.

Whilst apart from against the very weakest opposition I’m not expecting our midfield to be able to dominate in any way.

The plan going forward, once again appears to very much rest on give the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin and hope he can do something, which is fine up to a point, but what’s the plan B? Steve Bruce has taken charge of 42 Premier League games with Newcastle now and still only won once when ASM hasn’t started…

Big challenges ahead and I just hope these weaknesses in the squad that haven’t been addressed, don’t cost us.

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