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High risk but essential – Newcastle United signings plan

2 months ago
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A very clear Newcastle United signings plan is now in place.

Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth the key figures.

A Newcastle United signings plan that looks to balance all needs.

For the here and now AND the future.

If you don’t believe me, look at these Newcastle United signings and their ages when Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth signed them:

18 Yankuba Minter, Lewis Hall, Garang Kuol, Trevan Sanusi, Leo Shahar

20 Tino Livramento

21 Anthony Gordon, Harrison Ashby

22 Sven Botman, Alexander Isak

23 Sandro Tonali

24 Bruno Guimaraes

25 Harvey Barnes

This is an essential but high risk strategy.

Even if they want / wanted to, the Newcastle United owners can’t repeat what Chelsea did under Abramovich, Man City under Sheikh Mansour.

FFP rules mean that signing whoever you want for however much you want, just isn’t possible.

Newcastle United have to live by different rules compared to when those takeovers happened at Man City and Chelsea.

Newcastle United signings have to be ahead of the curve, young promising players who can be bought at a price that is within NUFC’s scope, rather than a few years down the line when pretty much sure things can be signed, players who have already proved themselves year after year and are in their prime.

Eddie Howe was ridiculed for his determination to land Tino Livramento. A 20 year old who was coming back from a serious injury and had missed an entire season, with only one full season of football behind him when an 18 year old. Eddie Howe’s determination finally paying off, Newcastle paying a reported £32m and that rising potentially to £38m if hitting certain targets.

Eddie Howe then taking the brave route of giving the young defender time to settle in and develop, before unleashing him for man of the match performances in the wins over Man City and Man U in the cup.

Newcastle United Players Training

Nothing Tino has done since then has made anybody think anything other than this is top star in the making AND at a bargain price.

If Livramento hadn’t got that serious injury and missed a season, he would have been out of Newcastle’s price bracket I reckon, same if Eddie Howe had waited another year to see how Tino would bounce back from that serious injury.

Same story on so many others, Lewis Hall only starting eight Premier League games when arriving on an initial loan at age 18 and set to be bought at the end of the season for around £30m. Clearly a but behind say Livramento in his development and no wonder Eddie Howe looking after him.

Anthony Gordon a raw 21 year old and Eddie Howe mocked on that £40m (plus extra £5m if hitting targets) capture as he took time to settle.

The likes of Botman, Isak, Tonali and Bruno all with more experience and achievement BUT all still aged 22-24 when bought and their best years ahead of them. Barnes at 25 seen as at the outer limits of the Newcastle United signings policy but with an outstanding goals and assists record in the Premier League and Leicester’s relegation giving NUFC the chance to sign the winger.

That very first January 2022 window under Eddie Howe and the new ownership saw as well as Bruno, players signed who could hit the ground running and unlike the Brazilian, they were thrown straight into the relegation battle and all of the quartet of experienced Premier League players did their bit in that more than just survival outcome. Trippier (31), Wood (30), Burn (29) and Targett (26) were that quartet.

Since then, it is only a 30 year old Nick Pope who is the exception to the rule of signing 25 year olds and under. Though as a keeper, I would say 30 equals 25 or so for an outfield player now, with the norm seeing the best keepers playing at the top level into their mid thirties at a minimum.

Eddie Howe of course also has the likes of (their current ages) Lewis Miley (17), Elliot Anderson (21) and Joe Willock (24), to complement the other young players he is bringing in. Very cruel luck to see Anderson and Willock missing long-term this season, as they both looked to be set to play key roles in this 2023/24 campaign.

All the talk of course is about Kalvin Phillips.

Back in summer 2022 when Newcastle United were claimed to be after him, I thought he’d be a great signing, a 26 year old with plenty years ahead of him.

Now 28 and having played more for England than Man City in the Premier League these past 18+ months, I think for all kinds of reasons you would be now putting more question marks on this signing happening.

Phillips’ age would certainly be a departure from the Newcastle United signings strategy, whilst so little recent club football played is also a major negative. Guessing he would also become Newcastle’s top wage earner if signing and my feeling is that the Man City midfielder will only be coming to Newcastle United if the deal is made very attractive for NUFC.

Ironically, the Premier League results these past few weeks have made Newcastle United look far less of a threat to Manchester City, which could well see them far more open to NUFC taking Phillips, if Eddie Howe is keen.

The transfer window opens on Monday, let the fun begin.

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