Reviewing the ingoings and outgoings at Newcastle United during this particular window (see table below), nine players have left the club and four have come in. I have included Ryan Donaldson and Phil Airey in the nine outgoings as they both enjoyed at least one or two outings for the first team in the past, though I have omitted several other Academy players who were released by the club in the infamous “night of the long knives” at the Benton Academy, when at least seven young prospects were axed in one go, plus the slightly older Kadar.
Though the figures are approximate, the overall spend for the club seems to be a figure of around +£2.64 million to +£3.14 million. Looking at the individuals involved will always be something of a subjective thing, but having a bash at some kind of assesment, I would say that the club has lost three squad members who had been very handy for the club when the inevitable injuries occured, or when more regular choices were fulfilling international commitments in major competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations. We also lost the all but redundant Alan Smith (and his huge wages), the talented but constantly on loan Fraser Forster, the once regarded as highly promising defender, Tamas Kadar, who never quite failed to live up to earlier expectations, as well the two bairns mentioned above.
On the incomings, the club signed two more youngsters, 18 year old midfielder Gael Bigirimana from Coventry City, and 19 year old Centre back Curtis Good from Melbourne Heart. Then there was 23 year midfielder Romain Amalfitano from the home of “Champagne football,” Stade de Reims. Too old to be regarded as a “youngster” and more of a squad player who might hopefully move on to greater things in the fullness of time. Well, I’m presuming that was in Alan Pardew’s and Graham Carr’s thinking when he was signed, and perhaps the fact that he was free and cheap on wages was in Mike Ashley’s thoughts? Of course, the one “marquee” signing of the window was the highly talented and versatile defensive midfielder and full back, Vurnon Anita from Ajax.
You can see all the details in the table below:
|Newcastle United’s transfer window|
|Romain Amalfitano: Stade de Reims – £0||Alan Smith: Released – £0|
|Gael Bigirimana: Coventry City – £500,000 to £1,000,000||Peter Lovenkrands: Released – £0|
|Curtis Good: Melbourne Heart – £400,000||Danny Guthrie: Reading – Released – £0|
|Vurnon Anita: Ajax – £6.74 million||Tamas Kadar: Released – £0|
|Ryan Donaldson: Released – £0|
|Phil Airey: Released – £0|
|Leon Best: Blackburn Rovers – “over £3 million”|
|Fraser Forster: Celtic – £2 million|
|Total – £7.64 million to £8.14 million (approx)||Total + £5 million (approx)|
|Overall Spend||+£2.64 million to £3.14 million (approx)|
So that’s the details in black and white, so to speak. On the one hand there have been arguments flying around about how we have expected too much for too little in our transfer dealings, leading to us losing out on much needed targets for the squad, and leaving it highly vulnerable to injuries and such in a season where we find ourselves competing in Europe. This is especially so after seeing several of the experienced players who fulfilled that role in the past being released. This has been seen as especially true in the case of defenders, and possibly most of all with strikers after the loss of Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands from the ranks, experienced players who can no longer be called upon in troubled times. This has been brought into very sharp focus with recent injuries to striker, Shola Ameobi, and in our last game, a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury to utilty defender and midfielder, Ryan Taylor, which will see him out of the game for several months.
On the other hand, although other polls seem to indicate that over three quarters of the club’s fans are unhappy with the club’s dealings in this transfer window, Newcastle United’s manager, Alan Pardew, has turned on those who share this viewpoint, mounting an aggressive defence of Mike Ashley and the club’s strategy on player aquisitions, rebuking those Geordies who have the sheer gall to criticise the Slimmer of the Year for his alleged miserliness. It is Pardew’s contention that rather than criticising Ashley, these ingrated fans should actually be grateful to him for resisting the urge to “cash in” on some of the top players in the side such as Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote, though we only have Pardew’s word for his assertion that the club had “a couple of phone calls” about players. One these admonitions went thusly:
“You have to pay a lot of respect to Mike, the owner here, because he could have cashed in on one of our big players” said the Silver Supremo, adding:
“We have had a couple of phone calls during the window and Mike has been pretty adamant that everybody stays. I thank him for that and our fans should thank him too because we are not as affluent as some other clubs.”
Indeed, he has been driving the same message home to dissident fans in most of his recent interviews on the transfer window, and I have included some more examples below:
“I think keeping our best players makes a strong statement, from Mike Ashley in particular. He’s had a fair bit of criticism here, for perhaps not investing in the club or not being fully focused, or wanting to sell it and so on, but if that’s the case why didn’t he cash in on one of the big hitters?”
“Maybe next week the fans will realise we haven’t done badly to keep all our top players here. We have had to fend off a few and we have done that, and we are well-set for the season. Another year of experience, of course, should make us better this year – should.” and so on…
In one of the interviews quoted above, he also confirmed that previous statements from both himself and Derek Llambias that the club will have no choice but to sell if big offers come in for players actually came directly from Mike Ashley, saying on that:
“It is is a good statement from the owner. I think we’ve been bold, we’ve had enquiries and we have knocked them back. We said these players are staying but if you want to pay over the odds, fair enough, we’ll listen. That is where we’ve been all summer.”
There is also another
excuse argument Pardew has used several times in the past. When a player comes back from a long term injury when the squad is short of bodies, he will often say “It’s like bringing in a new signing.” Well the club now has long term injury absentees Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux and Haris Vuckic back in action after extensive layoffs. Curiously, Pardew has made as much use of it this time as I thought he might this time, especially so as there are three “new signings.” Anyway, I’ve just done it for him now!
So that’s the arguments on both sides, but what do YOU think about Newcastle United’s dealings in the last transfer window? Whatever they are, please let us know in the comments section and by voting in our latest poll.