In contrast with the past, United go about their business quietly and sign up some gems before other clubs are alerted and can compete. We don’t always get the players we want of course, but that’s life!
Take the most recent example of our interest in Watford defender Adrian Mariappa. Nobody saw that coming, and it was Watford who let the negotiations out of the bag, with their boss Sean Dyche telling anyone who would listen “Newcastle United are miles away with their bid”. However, the game is afoot – the Hornets have refused to give United a valuation for the player and are obviously just waiting to see how high they can get the price to go as the clock ticks towards transfer deadline day.
United apparently have an interest in the player, and Watford have clearly decided they want to screw the Toon for as much as they can get, but they need to be careful that they don’t end up with nothing should United turn to an alternative option. And yes, with the current scouting set-up we have, I’m sure we’re also working on other options.
Alan Pardew recently spoke about the way we conduct transfer business under the current management. It makes interesting reading and provides an insight which lines up with what we see in practice.
Speaking from United’s training camp in Tenerife, Pardew told BBC Radio Newcastle:
“We’ve tried to be as honest (as possible). Certainly my philosophy in terms of the media and fans is to get the message out there of what’s going on. I don’t like there to be surprises.
“Unfortunately in the transfer market it’s very difficult because people then come in at the 11th hour. We’ve had big success in the transfer market just recently and other teams have noticed, it isn’t lost on them.
“So when we come in for a player suddenly another club gets interested and the prices start going up. Suddenly we get into a bidding war. That’s something we try to avoid.”
With a week to go, there’s still plenty of time to get the centre back that everybody knows we need, but it’s clear that the club won’t pay over the top and nobody will be allowed to hold us to ransom. That’s good. On the down side of course we still have to live with the reality that one of the so-called “big clubs” whatever that means, might come poaching one or more of our much sought after stars. As we know, Ashley & Co would be willing to do business on outgoings at the right price, but that right price would be top dollar. So far no bids apparently. Pardew also gave an update on that situation:
“It’s seven days too long as far as I’m concerned! We’ve got a great side and some outstanding players. They’ve been marvellous this season, they really have and I just hope we can keep it all together because the way the league is structured at moment – with one or two of the bigger clubs having a few problems – it’s an opportunity for us.
“We’re a young side, we haven’t been together long and if we can maintain our form and keep getting the wins we need we might surprise ourselves.”
Maybe clubs are holding back with a view to making a move in the summer. Maybe they are waiting until the 11th hour or perhaps they’re just a little apprehensive after the experience of the Liverpool deal with Andy Carroll. One thing is for sure though, if anyone does come in for our players, Mike Ashley will demand big money and cash up front just like they did for Andy Carroll. And as we know, there isn’t a lot of cash around at the moment!