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Newcastle United signings – The strangest 10 ever in Premier League era

2 years ago

Today I bring you the 10 strangest Newcastle United signings of the Premier League era.

This follows the interest and feedback generated by my 10 best Newcastle United signings article that The Mag kindly put out to the world. Then the follow up 10 worst Newcastle United signings.

So which ones have been the very worst Newcastle United signings of the Premier League era?

Below I have picked my top ten.

One rule I decided was that they had to have been signed during the Premier League era, which ruled out any players that were signed before summer 1993.

After that, a number of factors then helped guide my choices in this particular category…

So here we are, counting down the strangest ever Newcastle United signings of the Premier League era from tenth to number one:

Shefki Kuqi

Not sure who was more surprised / shocked when this signing happened, the Newcastle United fans of Shefki Kuqi himself.

Alan Pardew coming into the club in December 2010 after Mike Ashley disgracefully sacked Chris Hughton. Pardew then stating there was no way Andy Carroll would be sold…before he was sold.

Nobody brought in as a replacement in that January window for Carroll, so 10 February 2011 we saw 34 year old free agent Kuqi arrive.

If you were kind you would say Shefki Kuqi ran around like a Newcastle fan who had won a competition to play for NUFC.

If you weren’t so kind, you would say Shefki Kuqi played like a Newcastle fans who had won a competition to…

Vurnon Anita

A shock breakthrough season, Newcastle United finishing fifth in the Premier League.

How far would Mike Ashley push the boat out to show ambition and build on this very surprising chance of progressing the club and building it into a regular top six club?

The answer – the boat didn’t move, or if it did it was pushed backwards.

Ashley didn’t allow a single penny of net spend in summer 2012. Instead a number of fringe players, including Fraser Forster, were sold to finance £6m signing Vurnon Anita.

With Krul, Coloccini, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Cisse and Ba all wondering who would come in, the diminutive versatile (can play poor to average in a number of positions) arrived.

A signing that lacked any position, a demoralised squad, a near relegation followed, the season immediately after finishing fifth!

Seydou Doumbia

Yet another shambolic signing of the Mike Ashley administration.

Newcastle United desperately needing goalscorers to help fend off relegation, Doumbia arriving on loan in January 2016.


Only managed 29 minutes in three sub appearances, the final one was three minutes in Rafa’s first match in charge, a 1-0 defeat at Leicester.

Rafa Benitez had seen enough, never giving him another chance.

Matz Sels

Newcastle United needed to sign a lot of players in summer 2016 after relegation saw many going out of the door. However, nobody guessed that a goalkeeper would be the first Rafa signing.

Matz Sels had won the Belgian league with KAA Gent and then played Champions League football for them in the 2015/16 season, before then joining second tier Newcastle.

Goalkeeping had been one area where there appeared no desperate need to strengthen but Sels came in and started the 2016/17 season as first choice. Lasted nine games before dropped and never playing a league game again for NUFC, his biggest weakness a fear / inability to come for crosses, not ideal in the physicality of the Championship.

Was given a few cup matches though and in the League Cup quarter-final at Hull, Newcastle took the lead before Sels immediately made a blunder for an equaliser. Hull going on to win on penalties.

Romain Amalfitano

Signed on a free from Reims FC (Hugo Ekitike’s club) in 2012 after the player had spent two seasons playing in the French second tier.

This was in an era when if Newcastle United were to sign anybody he would invariably be French.

Romain didn’t play a single minute of Premier League football for Newcastle United and ended up back in the lower leagues of French football with Dijon. He does have a famous brother Morgan who is a French international …


A midfielder who was on trial / loan at five different English clubs without getting a permanent deal.

The Brazilian had been at lower league clubs Colchester and Crystal Palace at the same time as Mick Wadsworth.

Wadsworth then coming to Newcastle United as Sir Bobby Robson’s assistant and the NUFC manager seemingly relying on Wadsworth, when it came to allowing his assistant to bring in some cheap and cheerful players into St James Park.

Newcastle United fans could not quite believe what they were seeing as Fumaca made a handful of appearances whilst on loan.

We had all witnessed something pretty special, Fumaca is officially the only Brazilian who is incapable of playing football. Woeful.

Paul Dalglish

Signing a family member is a brave move for any manager.

Signing your 20 year son who hadn’t previously played any first team football and giving him a contract at a Premier League club that had just finished runners-up twice in a row…was audacious.

Kenny’s son scored only one league goal for Newcastle United and Paul followed his father out of St James Park after only 11 appearances.

Lionel Perez

Very strange.

A goalkeeper who looked a bit of a clown at Sunderland, then signed by Kenny Dalglish for Newcastle United in July 1998.

Didn’t play a single time for Newcastle.

Rumours circulated that Frenchman Lionel had only been signed to keep NUFC’s new centre-forward company / happy. Stephane Guivarc’h also arriving at St James Park in July 1998 after having helped France win the World Cup that summer.

Despite not playing a single game for Newcastle, Lionel Perez did last two years before leaving for Cambridge, significantly longer than Guivarc’h who left for Rangers in November 1998.


If you thought Joe Kinnear was a strange and disastrous appointment as manager of Newcastle United, Mike Ashley went one better / worse when then later appointing JFK as Director of Football.

JFK met Mike Ashley for a ‘pint or two…’down the pub, was offered the DOF job, then after leaving the pub rang up Talksport to tell them the news. No one can ever say things weren’t professionally done in the right way when Mike Ashley was in control…

Arriving (coming back to) at St James Park in June 2013, Newcastle United then went two transfer windows and a whole season without buying a single player.

It became very apparent that JFK had been signed up with the specific intent of deflecting blame from the owner. Mike Ashley not wanting to allow any spending on buying players in, so employing JFK to take the blame for no players bought due to his assumed incompetence.

After completing his remit, JFK resigned on 3 February 2014 after completing that second of two transfer windows without buying a single player.

Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Gonzalez

Strange just went to a whole new level.

Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise imposing this loan signing on Kevin Keegan.

That and the Xisco signing (also done without Keegan’s say so)  directly leading to KK feeling he had no alternative but to leave NUFC and successfully took Ashley and the club to a tribunal claiming constructive dismissal, winning £2m compensation for the disgraceful way he had been treated.

Gonzalez made two substitute appearances and Newcastle United were relegated.

The Gonzalez deal was reportedly made by Dennis Wise and Mike Ashley as a ‘favour’ to two South American agents.


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