Amidst Mike Ashley’s popular announcement that he would be inflicting himself upon Toon fans for another season and a half, there was also the news that he’s putting another £20m of his own money into the club. Ashley didn’t actually say where the £20m would be spent but it is speculated that the money would go towards new players and improving the scouting network.
Apparently Hughton – after talks with Ashley and Llambias – is already drawing up a list of targets for the January transfer window, although he was keen to just concentrate on our upcoming games for the moment. Hughton said:
“The most important thing first and foremost is that we have to work with what we have.
“We can’t bring in anybody until January other than loans.
“I’ll identify what I think we need when that time comes, but the most important thing is getting the results in the games before then.
“There are two remits really – the here and now, and then what happens when the window opens when we’ll sit down and look at it then.”
However, the Chronicle’s ‘Toon insider’ said:
“The money will go into the pot to buy new players, but also some of it will be poured into the scouting network and elsewhere around the club.
“Chris will have a major say in what players he wants to bring in and already has his own ideas on how he wants to play it in the January window.”
Assuming Newcastle are still looking like promotion material in January, the winter transfer window could be very important indeed. Does Hughton, for example, merely buy players who are good enough to get us promoted or does he buy players who he thinks will form the basis of a Premiership side? Indeed, what can he afford to do?
It would be fair to argue that a lack of stability at the management level (and above) was one of the main reasons we got relegated but the team played their part too. They simply weren’t good enough for the Premiership, yet we still have the core of that same team minus some of the better players such as Beye and Bassong.
Ashley has previously said he favours the ‘Arsenal Model’ of buying young unknowns with potential and developing them through the club, which is a fair enough idea in itself, but I think that sort of model presupposes starting from a position of relative strength and having the time to develop said players.
Should we get promoted, we’ll need a squad immediately capable of staying in the Premiership and Hughton will have just two transfer windows and limited funds with which to do that. Hughton will certainly have passed one test with flying colours if he gets us promoted but I think his biggest test will be how he handles life in the top league and how he creates a squad that can keep us there.
Of course we still have to survive this season first!
I’m used to being wrong when I report things said in the press but I didn’t expect to be wrong quite so quickly!
According to Hughton as quoted in an article from this morning’s Northern Echo, little of the £20m cash injection will go on players. Hughton said:
“The figures mentioned (£20m) are figures that would have had to be invested in the club anyway because of the normal running costs with a very high wage bill. That was expected anyway.
“I have been the told the club will, as much as possible, back me in my endeavours in the transfer market and in bringing in the right type of loan players. I will get support from the board.”