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Sky Sports analysis – Would have been uproar if Steve Bruce had made these 5 Newcastle signings

5 months ago

Sky Sports have been analysing what happened in the January transfer window that closed last week.

The broadcaster having a look at which Premier League clubs did and didn’t do well in the window.

Sky Sports putting the spotlight on Newcastle United in particular.

The job of providing the expert analysis, given to…Paul Merson.

Paul Merson analysing Newcastle United’s January transfer window for Sky Sports :

‘All I can say is that if Steve Bruce had bought in all these players there would have been uproar, and I think that tells you everything you need to know.

I still think the jury is out on the business they did in January. It’s safe. It doesn’t really excite me.

They have got solid players in, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see 18 0-0 draws keeping you up. It may be enough, but I’m just not convinced.

Newcastle were always saying they wanted two forwards, but they only got Chris Wood, and I think that might prove costly.’

Quite incredible really.

So Newcastle United fans would have been in ‘uproar’ if Steve Bruce had bought a Brazil international midfielder, an England full-back who has just won La Liga, plus three players who have been regular starters in the Premier League this season?

If that is the case, then where was the ‘uproar’ when Steve Bruce signed the likes of Krafth, Hendrick, Lewis, Carroll, Bentaleb, Lazaro, Rose, Gillespie…?

Bruno Guimaraes:

‘Bruno Guimaraes, who knows? He’s never played in the Premier League before, and he could be an absolute gem of a player and we’ll sit back and think what a result Newcastle had in getting him. We’ll be left asking why didn’t any of the big boys go for him. Or they could go down and we’ll be saying they needed to get someone who was ready-made for the Premier League.

And that’s why we’ll only know if this window was a success over time and if they stay up.

I just don’t think they are a shoo-in to stay up. When you’ve spent all the money they have, I’d expect them to be a definite to stay up, but I just don’t see that.’

Honestly, if Arsenal had signed Guimaraes, Merson would have been calling it an undoubtedly brilliant signing.

He has been playing in Europe the past three seasons, not a weak South American league where the style and level of play is very different. Plus, when you are bringing in four tried and tested readymade Premier League players with so many PL games behind them, when you make a 24 year old Brazil international midfielder your other signing, with fantastic stats this season and previous, just how much of a risk is it compared to bringing in say somebody from another PL club who hasn’t been getting regular, if any, football?

Watford / Chris Wood

I look at Roy Hodgson going in at Watford. He’s going to get them solid at the back and for me, anyone of Watford’s forward players in Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis, Josh King and Joao Pedro would get into the Newcastle team.

Any of them would play up front with Callum Wilson unavailable, and that’s how you’ve got to weigh it up. Hodgson will tighten Watford up and then you’ve got those four, who will nick a goal.

So, basically, Paul Merson is saying that all four Watford strikers are better than Chris Wood.

Well, only one of the five strikers (the four Watford ones and Wood) has scored 10+ league goals in every one of the past four seasons, plus he has scored those 10+ goals in the Premier League each of those four seasons.

When it comes to scoring league goals since the start of the 201718 season, Chris Wood has scored 49, whilst Sarr has 36, Dennis 27, King 31 and Pedro 11.

Pedro is only young and you can only take the past two seasons into account, he has only scored two PL goals with the other nine in the Championship last season. The last time Wood played in the Championship he scored 27.

The vast majority of Dennis’ goals were scored in the weak Belgian league and really, it is just nonsense from the Sky Sports pundit.

Yes, Chris Wood isn’t an ASM who is going to excite you with his dribbling and flair, but he (Wood) is exactly what Newcastle needed, somebody who they could sign (due to release clause) and who has a great goalscoring record in the Premier League despite having played for a team (Burnley) who don’t create a lot of chances. You could almost say Chris Wood was ‘readymade’ for the job that is needed these next few months…

Jesse Lingard:

‘Not getting Lingard in may come back to haunt Newcastle.

You don’t know what was going on, you don’t know what Lingard wanted and you don’t know what Manchester United wanted.

It may just turn out now that Lingard may get his chance at United, and that’s why he is staying put.

Lingard staying does make sense for Man Utd, but not getting him could prove to be a big regret for Newcastle.’

Both Man Utd and Lingard have made absolutely clear that the midfielder wanted to leave. Merson is totally wrong when saying nobody knows what the England player wanted.

Also, Newcastle did everything they reasonably could have done to try and sign Jesse Lingard, but would have been absolutely ridiculed if they had agreed to the heavily reported deal Man Utd were originally demanding, which would have meant Newcastle potentially paying out around £1m per game for a loan signing. Plus, when it then came down to it, Man Utd refused to let Lingard go anywhere, certainly not to Newcastle.

Yes, both Eddie Howe and the Newcastle fans would have liked to see more goals / flair added, but they are the players that clubs are so determined not to lose mid-season, their match winners, the ones who can make the biggest difference.

It is clear that NUFC put in any number of bids but you can’t force clubs or players to sell / sign. A transfer fee of around £25m was agreed with the exciting 19 year old striker Hugo Ekitike but after only 11 league starts in his career, the forward decided to stay and develop for the rest of the season in familiar surroundings.

This transfer window was never going to see perfect results for Newcastle United but in the final analysis, unless you are the Sky Sports genius, the end result was pretty outstanding in the circumstances.


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