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Now building into stunning Newcastle United January transfer window

2 weeks ago
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This Newcastle United January transfer window was much talked about long before it opened.

Indeed, I can tell you the exact date it started to be seriously discussed.

It was 7 October 2021.

Yes, the Newcastle United takeover changed everything, certainly in terms of our hopes as fans, as well as to a large degree our expectations.

After five defeats and three draws in the opening eight matches under Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce, the writing was on the wall. A disastrous summer 2021 transfer window had totally failed to tackle the numerous serious weaknesses throughout the squad, indeed, they hadn’t even tried to…

The only signing was Joe Willock, who had already been at the club for the second half of the previous season. Indeed, between the summer 2020 transfer window ending and Kieran Trippier signing last month, Willock was the only player signed by Newcastle United,

To the background of this laughable absolute neglect that looked as if it would ensure a third Mike Ashley relegation, out of the blue the takeover actually happened after two years of trying. A shocking time and situation for the new owners to come in with an unbelievable mess to sort out, both short and long-term, but in terms of fighting relegation the Newcastle United January transfer window was going to be absolutely key.

This is now building into a stunning Newcastle United January transfer window.

Let me explain.

For the success of any transfer window, you have to judge it by the situation that exists at the time.

When you talk of your real dream transfer windows / times, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola arriving in summer 1995 turned Newcastle United into title contenders. Signing the best striker in the world and the greatest of the Premier League era, a year later, was simply the best. Summer 2001 saw Sir Bobby Robson sign Laurent Robert and Craig Bellamy to once again spark NUFC into being title contenders and Champions League competitors. Whilst Kevin Keegan signing Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley within months of each other in 1993 was pure genius.

Credit as well to Graham Carr for what happened in summer 2011, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye helping to produce what should have been a long-term game changer with a breakthrough leap to fifth that season, only for Mike Ashley to refuse to allow a penny of net spend to build on that.

However, it is when your backs are up against the wall that you can also see equally successful transfer windows in their own way / circumstances.

Chris Hughton given zero budget to buy players in summer 2009 but getting promotion built on adding a series of frees and loans. Rafa Benitez in summer 2016 had to basically change an entire team / squad, which he did, producing a £4om profit on transfers in and out this season AND winning promotion as champions.

Which brings us back to the present day.

Eddie Howe and the new Newcastle United owners facing a massive challenge.

Year after year of Mike Ashley neglect and with the help of Steve Bruce, ensuring a totally unbalanced squad with a total lack of quality in key areas, leading to only one win in the opening 21 games of this season and deep in relegation trouble.

A pivotal and stunning Newcastle United January transfer window needed and you know what, I think they are pulling it off.

Kieran Trippier having signed last week, Chris Wood currently taking his medical on the 12th day of the window and set to join him.

This is some of the reaction I have seen this morning…

Jim White speaking on Talksport – 12 January 2022:

“Newcastle fans aren’t happy with this [Chris Wood] deal”

Matt Law of The Telegraph via Twitter – 12 January 2022:

‘Chris Wood a clever signing by Newcastle.

‘If he helps keep them up then well worth the 20-25m and if they go down he will be among top scorers in the Champ.

‘Trippier and Wood a good start IMO.’

Analysis from @ScoutNUFC via Twitter – 12 January 2022:

‘Chris Wood shares a few similarities with Kieran Trippier:

Experience in the PL

Experience in Europe

Experience fighting relegation

Native English speaker

Doing his coaching badges

Good in the air

Loves crosses

Gives us an idea of what Howe is looking for…’

James Maw – Commissioning Editor of The Athletic via Twitter – 12 January 2022:

‘Chris Wood costing Newcastle circa £20m in the year 2022 is one of the least surprising transfer fees I’ve ever seen – what’s wrong with people?’

As I say above, you have to judge any transfer window on the conditions prevailing at the time.

This was never going to be a window when the modern day equivalents of Sir Les and Big Al would be turning up.

You can talk about richest owners in the world all you like BUT when you factor in that it is mid-season, deep in relegation trouble, only 1 win in 21 games (over eight months), getting in the right signings is going to be a mammoth task.

So, this is how I see this transfer window going so far AND how it will further develop…

7 January 2022 – Newcastle United sign England right-back Kieran Trippier. Trippier having won La Liga with Atletico Madrid in May (2021) and then started for England in the Euros final v Italy in July (2021), was also named in the best eleven players / team in La Liga for last (2020/21) season.

12 January 2022 – Chris Wood is undergoing his medical, before being unveiled as the second Newcastle United signing of this transfer window. In May (2021), Wood was named Burnley’s Player Of The Season, also Players Player Of The Season, as well as being Top Goalscorer.

Newcastle United have their first Premier League match of January coming up on Saturday, an absolute crunch relegation clash against Watford. All things being equal, they will have both Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood now added to the Premier League starting eleven.

That is Kieran Trippier the England right-back.

Plus Chris Wood, one of only six players to have scored 10+ Premier League goals in each of the last four seasons, a first choice Premier League centre-forward who NUFC also happen to be taking off one of their three relegation competitors, leaving them without a viable centre-forward option.

To add two players of this level, particularly taking into account the situation NUFC are currently in, in time to start the first Premier League game of January, is just phenomenal. Yes, we all daydream of what could potentially be achieved in tears to come, now we have rid of Mike Ashley AND replaced with ambitious new owners, BUT this is the here and now.

When we are hopefully one day back competing towards the top end, we will hope for the best possible signings to help try and make success happen. As things stand now though, success in the short-term will be Newcastle United avoiding relegation and in terms of best possible signings that could help with that. Trippier and Wood are stellar signings in my opinion.

One of the problems when it comes to those who may be disappointed by say signing Wood, instead of what appears on the surface to be a more exciting prospect, is that we are all seduced by the unknown. So if Newcastle were signing a £20m foreign striker from another European league, we could all wonder if he could be the next big thing. As opposed to ‘just’ a Chris Wood who ‘only’ scores 10+ Premier League goals each season in a poor Burnley side who mostly rely on their defence to stay up.

The thing is, in my opinion, these other signings are very likely going to happen as well.

However, absolutely vital to get these kind of key Premier League ready signings in ASAP to hit the ground running against Watford, Leeds, Everton etc. Signings that could be more easily achieved due to Trippier wanting to move back to the UK for family reasons and his past relationship with Eddie Howe, then Wood’s release clause that could be triggered AND his willingness to switch relegation horses mid-race.

I fully expect three or four other credible signings to follow Trippier and Wood into St James Park. Signings that could well look a bit more exciting on the surface, coming from overseas and / or on loan, maybe more difficult signings to make who are considering all options as well as their clubs doing the same. The best loan signings in particularly are often done late in the transfer window, especially in January, as clubs wait to see how their availability / injury situations are, before agreeing to let quality players go out on loan.

With these first two signings (assuming no hitches with Wood), it is great to see the new owners clearly willing to go to considerable lengths to get the job done and give Newcastle their best chance of avoiding relegation. Agreeing to pay a premium on transfer fees and wages for players heading into the wrong end of the age spectrum. Worth bearing in mind that Chris Wood is only two months older than Callum Wilson and has a far better fitness / availability record than the NUFC number nine.

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