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Opinion

Newcastle United to go 180 degrees on free transfers in summer transfer market

2 weeks ago
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Free transfers have become a bit of a yearly ritual with Newcastle United.

Each year, ahead of the summer transfer window, you’ve had countless journalists compiling lists of those quality players set to be out of contract after the end of the season, both in the Premier League and elsewhere.

With these journalists explaining that with Mike Ashley’s ‘model’ for running a football club ruling out spending the necessary money on transfer fees, it then makes perfect sense for Newcastle United to be going after some very good players with no need to pay any transfer fee.

There were two major flaws with the yearly articles / reasoning.

Mike Ashley refusing to allow Newcastle United to compete for these quality free transfers, as he wasn’t prepared to offer the level of wages these players were expecting.

The high quality free transfer players having no interest in Newcastle United, due to Ashley running the club with zero ambition.

As a result, the free transfers that Newcastle United have brought to the club in recent times, are all pretty much from the budget end of things.

Amongst those that come to mind are Sylvain Marveuax, Shefki Kuqi, Mehdi Abeid, Jeff Hendrick, Andy Carroll, Mark Gillespie, Ki and Jesus Gamez. Not exactly any significant success stories amongst that lot.

In the last decade or so, Jack Colback and Ryan Fraser are probably two of the biggest relative successes but I didn’t see serious competition to land either of them at the time. Fraser has recently came into a little run of form but still important to remember that in two full seasons, he has still only contributed two goals and five assists in the Premier League.

The most successful free I can recall under Mike Ashley has to be Demba Ba. However, despite getting him on a free because of a relegation clause in his West Ham contract, Ashley still got a very good deal on wages as there were ongoing worries about a knee problem. The understanding being that if Demba Ba proved himself then he would be rewarded with a better contract. That was never forthcoming as Mike Ashley dug in his heels, despite 29 goals in only 51 Premier League starts, the owner refusing to do anything to convince Demba Ba to stay, with the striker moving to be a squad player at Chelsea.

Which brings us to now.

The January 2022 transfer window showed to a decent extent, that the new Newcastle United owners are willing to do what it takes to improve the squad where it is needed.

There is an awful lot to do still on that front and simple fact is, even if the owners stump up the cash personally, you still have to be mindful of FFP.

I think it is inevitable that Newcastle United will go 180 degrees on free transfers in this upcoming summer transfer market.

I think we will see everything from relatively high transfer fees paid for at least one or two new signings, right down to free transfer and loans (probably with options to buy).

This is the only way I can see how Eddie Howe can really progress this team / squad, without spending really daft money on transfer fees.

I think a couple of high end free transfers are set to be in that mix.

The new NUFC owners prepared to pay the wages necessary for high end frees, whilst those good quality players prepared to come now ambition is being shown at St James Park.

Here are just some of the players set to see their contracts complete at the end of June 2022 and these are only some of the Premier League ones:

Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny

Brentford – Christian Eriksen

Burnley – Ben Mee, James Tarkowski

Chelsea – Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen

Crystal Palace – Cheikhou Kouyate

Liverpool – Divock Origi

Man Utd – Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata

Southampton – Fraser Forster

Wolves – Joao Moutinho, Romain Saiss

Newcastle United will not be signing the likes of Pogba and Rudiger but I think it is more than possible that you could pick out half a dozen or more of those listed above, with a belief that Newcastle will be looking at them and potentially sign two or more of them.

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