Alan Pardew has gone on record again to say that he understands the budget he’s operating under at Newcastle. In an interview which broadly echoes one he made earlier this week Pardew said:
“I do think that the clarity of the budget is important. Some fans may not be entirely happy with the amount we have to spend, but at least they know the whole picture.
“When you look at the world economy and where football is at the moment, we are seeing some really tough times. We have seen examples of Portsmouth and Rangers in Scotland that show if you over-stretch, you are going to find yourself in serious trouble and you are putting the club’s future at risk.
“At Newcastle, we have got a good foundation and a good financial model, and now the question is whether we can bring success within that model.
“That’s the challenge that I accepted when I joined the club, and so far we are doing well and can hopefully continue to grow as we go along.“
So what is that budget? Well, Pardew doesn’t say and I think that’s because there isn’t a specific figure. Pardew has frequently stressed that we will lose some players in order to pay for others – that’s our model now – and that what we have to spend in the summer will depend upon what we receive from players we sell.
On the surface it seems like we should have some ‘credit’ left anyway. Since the start of 2011 we’ve sold Carroll, Routledge, Nolan and Enrique, bringing in £43m, and we’ve bought Santon, Cabaye, Benny, Elliot and Cisse at a cost of £23m (and Abeid, Obertan, Marveuax and Ba were ‘free’), which would seem to indicate that there’s £20m left somewhere. However that doesn’t take into account agents’ fees and such, and it’s worth bearing in mind that I’ve arbitrarily chosen the start of the 2011 to begin my calculations.
The way I’m presuming Newcastle United operate in terms of selling players is that they’ll make buying clubs pay top-dollar for players or simply won’t sell them, but I suspect if top dollar is offered then the player will be ‘strongly encouraged’ to leave.
This process of buying in younger, relatively-unknown players from the ‘cheaper’ foreign leagues and then selling (some of) them on to bigger clubs in the more ‘expensive’ leagues, such as the Premier League, is fine as far as it goes. It relies heavily on having a top-quality scouting network, which we appear to have under the leadership of Graham Carr, but it’s a bit much to expect them to uncover Ben Arfas or Yohan Cabayes all the time. There will be duds.
So, as to the summer, it’s anyone’s guess as to which players we’ll receive top-dollar offers for. Press rumours would indicate that Krul, Tiote and Ba are all in the frame. There has also been talk of interest in Guthrie and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Cabaye, Benny and even Cisse have attracted enough attention to warrant interest from somewhere.
I would hope there’s a balance somewhere and that if we get top-dollar offers for a large number of players it wouldn’t turn into a mass exodus and leave the scouting network with an unreasonable job of replacing them all.
The club’s transfer policy appears to have worked so far. Let’s hope it continues to do so.