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Opinion

Brendan Rodgers with not the whole truth claims about Newcastle United and Leicester City

1 year ago
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Brendan Rodgers has been making some ‘interesting’ claims about Newcastle United and Leicester City.

The Foxes boss speaking ahead of the two teams meeting at St James’s Park.

Brendan Rodgers basically saying it is a near impossible task for Leicester City to be able to compete with Newcastle United.

Hmmm.

Read what he has to say and then below that I have a few points to make.

Does ‘Magic’ Brendan Rodgers really have an impossible task…?

Brendan Rodgers talking about the respective transfer spending of Leicester City and Newcastle United:

“I don’t think that there is any doubt (that Newcastle United are going to be competing with the established ‘big six’).

“But those teams (who will have the financial power, such as Newcastle) can’t be embarrassed to say that (is the case) either.

“It is one of the ways to move forwards in the game.

“If you look at Newcastle’s net spend in the last year, along with the fantastic coaching of Eddie and his staff, plus the infrastructure from where they were to where they are now, they’re looking to build and create something.

“They will do it wisely and sensibly but they have the resources to do that.

“So that’s the modern game and there’s no doubt they join that bracket.

“Look at some of the other teams.

“Aston Villa’s net spend over the last few years. West Ham too.

“It’s becoming a real challenge.

“If you look at our net spend since I’ve been here, it’s about £10m, in the three and half years I’ve been here. Compare that to our competitors, like Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle, it’s over £250m.

“It’s a big difference.

“I think I’m a decent coach but I’m not a magician.

“I think the players here have been exceptional. Two fifth-placed finishes and an eighth-placed finish, for that level of spending, it’s remarkable what the players have done.

“We’ll continue to fight against that level of competition. If won’t stop us wanting to be the best we can be with the resources we have.

“You’ve got the top six, you’ve got Newcastle now, and then the other wealthy teams, so there’s 10 teams straight away that have better resources than us. Yet for us, when we didn’t make the Champions League, we were deemed a failure.

“We have to keep finding a way to keep challenging. That’s what’s really exciting for me.”

Personally, I think this is a classic case of Brendan Rodgers telling the truth, or at least one version of it, or some of it, but not the whole truth.

Like a lot of these things, it very much depends on when you start the clock.

Brendan Rodgers is very keen to talk about net spend and what has happened very recently when it comes to Newcastle United, in comparison to Leicester City. However, the Foxes have still spent a fair amount of cash under Brendan Rodgers, much of which has been funded by selling players that he inherited, the likes of Maguire and Chilwell. Who did Eddie Howe inherit that he could sell for massive money (£80m for Maguire!!!), when in reality he inherited only a small number of quality players, all of which were desperately needed just to try and avoid relegation last season.

I know it goes back to a couple of years before Brendan Rodgers took over in February 2019, but look at the respective positions of the two clubs in summer 2016 and what has happened since then.

Leicester City had won the Premier League title.

Newcastle United had just been relegated.

Since that title winning (Leicester) relegation (Newcastle) season, interesting to see just how much money has been spent by the two clubs on players, in terms of overall gross (not net) spending.

Using figures from Transfermarkt, it works out that from the 2016/17 season onwards, Leicester City have spent £476m (539m euros) and Newcastle United have spent £485m (549m euros). We are talking about a relegated team having spent only around £9m more in these intervening years than the one that won the title. What’s more of course is that until these last two windows after we were saved from Mike Ashley, Leicester had spent the best part of £200m more than Newcastle since the relegation / title season.

Brendan Rodgers took over at Leicester City in February 2019 and funnily enough I don’t remember him back then saying how unfair it was about certain clubs spending more than others.

In his very first transfer window (summer 2019), Brendan Rodgers spent almost £100m, the vast majority of it on three players.

Youri Tielemans arrived for £40m and could end up now leaving for absolutely nothing, as he is out of contract come the summer.

Brendan Rodgers paid the £30m release clause for Ayoze Perez, yet the former Newcastle player is almost permanently on the bench. His last 50 times in the matchday Premier League squad these past 20 months, have seen nine PL starts and 41 times named on the bench.

Dennis Praet was also signed in that first Brendan Rodgers transfer window, only 42 PL starts these last three and a half years since Rodgers bought him.

Maybe the most amusing thing is when Brendan Rodgers talks about ‘infrastructure’ advantages that Newcastle United supposedly have.

The 14 years of Mike Ashley saw Newcastle United spend less on infrastructure than any other Premier League club. Indeed, many clubs in the Championship (and even some below that!) spent far more on their infrastructure, on their stadiums, training grounds, academies etc.

The new Newcastle United owners having a massive job on their hands on all fronts, particularly as they inherited a situation where NUFC use a training ground that wasn’t even fit for (Premier League) purpose. Whilst one of their first jobs was to have St James’ Park properly cleaned, such was the negligence and lack of care under Mike Ashley.

Yes, poor old Brendan Rodgers with the shocking Leicester City infrastructure, the Foxes boss handed a brand new state of the art £100m training complex in 2020, one that is widely regarded as the best in the Premier League.

Newcastle United are years away from having something like that, plans are being drawn up and locations looked at, whilst in the meantime the new owners are doing what they can to smarten up the current facilities, in the meantime.

Yes Newcastle United are hopefully on the rise, hopefully this will be a long lasting period where the club can reach its true potential.

However, Brendan Rodgers needs to tone down the sob story.

He has facilities that Eddie Howe can still only dream of, he (Rodgers) inherited so many quality players when he arrived – Vardy, Barnes, Maddison, Maguire, Chilwell, Schmeichel, Evans, Iheanacho, Ndidi…then he has been backed to bring in plenty big signings on top of those, compared to many other clubs. Including compared to Newcastle United, until these last two windows.

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