Bargain hunting for top strikers won’t work Derek

Posted on September 3rd, 2011 | 27 Comments |

Llambias: Understands fan's frustrations?
Llambias: Understands fan's frustrations?
Most of you will be aware by now that yesterday, Newcastle United’s Managing Director, Derek Llambias, issued a statement on the club’s performance in the latest transfer window. It read:

“Now that the transfer window has closed, we have had some time to reflect on the business we have conducted over the summer.

“Our aim was to secure young players who represented value for money and could add real strength to the squad. The majority of our transfer dealings were completed in the early part of the window and we feel we have signed some players of exceptional quality. Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux, Mehdi Abeid, Demba Ba and Gabriel Obertan were all brought in early and we have seen these players settle quickly into the squad and perform well on the pitch.

“Earlier this week we were delighted to sign Davide Santon from Inter Milan to fill our left-back position after the departure of Jose Enrique. Davide is an excellent young prospect and we’re sure he’ll be another superb addition to the squad. We also welcomed young goalkeeper Rob Elliot from Charlton Athletic who will help us retain healthy competition for that position after loaning out Fraser Forster to Celtic.

“Of course we had also hoped to secure a further striker in the window, in addition to Demba Ba. Work to bring a striker into the club began early in the summer. Negotiations were complex and protracted and unfortunately it was disappointing that ultimately we could not secure our priority target.

“Whilst we did turn our attention to alternative prospects in the latter stages of the window, we have a very clear transfer policy and will not make knee-jerk decisions at the last-minute which are not in the best interests of the club. We understand that supporters will feel frustrated that we did not sign another striker during the window, but it was not for lack of trying that we did not bring our final target in.”

While it is undoubtedly a good thing that the club have recruited five new first team players of quality (and a promising younster in Mehdi Abeid), Llambias of course omits to mention that the club have also lost four key members of the team, if you include Andy Carroll from the end of the last window. They included our captain (Kevin Nolan), the top two highest goalscorers from the two preceeding seasons (Carroll and Nolan) as well as our last two players of the season (jose Enrique and Joey Barton), so that’s some replacing that needs to be done for a start. Even in the fairly unlikely event that our new signings provide the highest goalscorers over the next two seasons, and also the two next players of the season, it would still be a relatively small step forward.

On the striker issue in isolation, personally, I think that all the hulaballoo over a the club’s failure to bring in a second striker as a replacement for £35 million Andy Carroll may be somewhat overstated, however Llambias has decided to be defensive on that front, so lets look at it.

Firstly, it was no less than 212 days from the time Andy Carroll was delivered to Anfield in Mike Ashley’s helicopter. This included roughly five months for preparation, and around two to actually “get a player over the line”, a term that manager  Alan Pardew has been particularly fond of using over the last window. Though Llambias stated that it was “disappointing that ultimately we could not secure our priority target”, he did not reveal who the priority target was. Amidst the many somewhat questionable stories in the media, representatives of Newcastle, or other clubs (I’m not counting agents for obvious reasons) involved confirmed that approaches had been made for at least three strikers. Alan Pardew confirmed that moves had been made for Kevin Gameiro of Lorient and Mevlüt Erdinç of PSG. Both Pardew and Sochaux confirmed that a move had been made for Sochaux’s Modibo Maiga, including, allegedly, an illegal one under FIFA’s regulations of approaching a player without the permission of his club according to Sochaux. Finally, German club, Freiburg confirmed that they had rejeted a late Newcastle bid for Bundesliga goal machine, Papiss Cissé, who’s phenomenal scoring record in the past two seasons tends to indicate that he may have been the one the club should have been going for all along.

Looking at the evidence, such as it is, it seems to sugggest, to myself anyway, that the club were bidding fairly low on several players in the hope of coming up with a bargain, and negiotiating hard on personal terms if a bid was accepted. Though the club may have had some success with players in other positions, Llambias didn’t seem to grasp that this strategy wouldn’t necessarily work so well with high scoring strikers who are always in demand, either in terms of their current teams wanting to retain them in the light of offers that simply weren’t good enough (Erdinç, Maiga and Cissé), or that of other teams tempting them with better offers in the case of Gameiro, who snubbed Newcastle United’s approach for a choice between Valencia or his eventual destination, Paris St Germain. Quality strikers are indeed a rare commodity at the prices Newcastle United wanted to pay.

If I were a cynic, well, actually, I AM a cynic in Llambias’s case, I could interpret the part of the statement that reads:

“Negotiations were complex and protracted and unfortunately it was disappointing that ultimately we could not secure our priority target.”


“Keep making derisory offers, use prevarication, brinksmanship, possibly, allegedly, approach the player behind the other club’s back and unsettle him to the point where he refuses to play (Modibo Maiga). Then, when the window is almost over and the priority targets have either been withdrawn or sold to other clubs, make a last minute “knee jerk” offer for someone else like Papiss Cisse?”

A previous Newcastle United manager, Kevin Keegan, who had some experience of Ashley’s and Llambias’s negotiating strategies put it even less politely when he said on TV:

“You can’t trust them. They tell you one thing, they mean another. You try and sign a player, I had a ‘phone call for about an hour to buy a player. After I went off the phone, they had another conference call and said “right, we don’t offer two million, we offer one, they’ll reject it.”

Even current manager, Alan Pardew, seems to be showing the first faint signs of frustration at the club’s negotiation policies. When reacting to a question on the club’s failiure to strike a deal with the above mentioned Modibo Maiga, he responded:

“It is difficult for me because I keep doing press conferences and indicating we are getting players and they aren’t coming over the line.

“But it’s only after the window shuts when it becomes a problem.”

Well the transfer window is firmly bolted until January now. Returning to the beginning, ie the title of this piece, while Demba Ba may have been signed on a free, due largely to a question mark over his degenerative knee condition which led to him failing medicals at two other clubs, signing another striker of similar calibre may prove much trickier if the current administration at Newcastle United continue to follow the same transfer policies in the future.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1086 articles on this blog.

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27 Responses

  1. Not only are we losing players through this kind of dealing but we are almost certainly building a bad reputation too amongst clubs and players.

  2. No intention of paying any full value asking price for any player, only free transfers and “ones with contract loopholes” will be bought as these have the greatest sell on value.
    Why else would he give Strolla a new contract unless he knew another striker wouldn’t be through the door?
    Strolla’s contract goes against every rule in place for the team, except for the fact he has probably agreed to take a pay cut to stay.
    I am not too angry though as i am beginning to be apathetic to these gonks, the ground will slowly empty before their eyes, and wait until Febuary, when the season ticket renewals come around, we’ll just see how many 10 year plan subscribers cancel.
    The cancer at the club will see that we can only take so much, so much deceit, so many broken promises and so many lies.
    I for one will continue to go until the end of the season as I have already got my season tickets, then I will never set foot inside our hallowed ground until the cancer is gone.
    Even if he buys messi in the window and were top of the league and in the champions league, I can t support something I can’t trust.

  3. Sikovash says:
    September 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    “Not only are we losing players through this kind of dealing but we are almost certainly building a bad reputation too amongst clubs and players.”

    We certainly have amongst managers Sikovash.

  4. Jordie In Wales says:
    September 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    “Chin Up Lads.Could be alot worse eh…..”

    Aye Jordie, the whole squad could be abducted by aliens tomorow, which wouldn’t surprise me at all with Newcastle United. :-)

  5. workyticket says:
    September 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm
    Jordie In Wales says:
    September 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    “Chin Up Lads.Could be alot worse eh…..”

    Aye Jordie, the whole squad could be abducted by aliens tomorow, which wouldn’t surprise me at all with Newcastle United.

    LOL……The Truth Is Out There……

  6. Good point Sikovash, all the hard earned respect as a club that was won back under Chris Hughton’s stewardship and our championship year has been well and truly lost – there are plenty out there waiting to enjoy our downfall.
    No surprise though – read some business commentators about the way Ashley behaves in the world of commerce – he is universally disliked

  7. I personally believe that Pardew has quit the club and it’s being covered over by our lameass of a MD. He is probably totally distraught that he has been made to look a complete tit again and has thrown the towel in. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about this fiasco.

  8. Toonheroes says:
    September 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    “I personally believe that Pardew has quit the club”

    Well he has stopped talking, and reports are also coming in that hell has just frozen over Toonheroes. :-)

  9. Robsondoc – The business phrase I heard from someone in his field was “He likes to park his tanks on people’s lawns”.

  10. Well Worky it’s really down to Pardew now to put this all into perspective. The silence is becoming defining. I don’t want him to resign tell you the truth because i feel he has/is giving it his best shot and doing ok. I’ll be glad when all this international stuff is over though and we get back to the real business of the league.

  11. I reckon Pards has told lamearse he wont cover his mistakes up any more, and that is why Owl-heed has come out with the statement.
    I also believe Lamearse has done this on purpose to annoy the fans after the barracking he got at the Darlo game.
    as much as I despise what they are doing (or rather the way they are doing it) I also admire the pursuit of their end goal(self sustaining European football team)I think if the fans had stayed on side, and not escalated the hate regime towards Ashley, he would have stayed a fan and maybe felt a little more like putting money into the club (not just to keep it afloat).
    Now however, its too late, too much has passed for him and us, he will keep stripping the assets from the club until theres no high value players on high wages at the club.
    He will get as much of his money back (if not all of it) then sell the club to anyone who will buy it.
    The club will be in a very healthy financial position when he sells,with a low wage bill, young potential talent all through the 1st team, but tear away the covers and there are kids and Sholas to replace them.
    Within 2 seasons he will have this,no Tiote, no Gutti and no Collo, he will be gone with his money and we will be here as it all burns…………hope i’m wrong though……….HWTL

  12. Toonheroes says:
    September 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    “Well Worky it’s really down to Pardew now to put this all into perspective.”

    Personally Toon, I think Pardew is right to say that it’s his (and the scout’s) job to identify the players, and it’s the club’s job to “get them over the line”. So, I feel it’s Ashley’s and Llambias’s job to attempt to polish their own turd, as Llambias has above.

  13. They had eight months and a potful of cash … any one thinking that they have done their jobs properly are deluded.

    Llambias should be sacked … unless Ashley wanted him to fail miserably?

  14. As usual most fans talk rubbish. Llambias is absolutely right not to push the price of second rate strikers up by agreeing to pay over thge odds. It is fantastic the NU are no longer the pushovers who will pay the earth.

    This was a really decent transfer window given that (a) players have to want to come to Tyneside and (b) that clubs are asking inflated prices for mdest goods.

    Next time, maybe, prices asked of NU will get in line with ability tholugh I doubt it! Striker is the most difficult position to fill. It is almost always best to bring them up unless the club is awash with dubiuosly acquired loot.

    Whatever is said about MA it remains true that financially somethign had to be done about the profligate spending of the previous regime or we would all be facing the Leeds United syndrome-four years in the lower leagues and no sign of improvement.

    I am rather pleased with the present situation, which I wouild charactersaie as a steady improvememnt with a decent bunch of young players.

  15. If the team plays well and we get good results, we’ll all be happy. Sod the board. If we play badly and hit the relegation zone they’ll need to re-tool and maybe one or two heads will roll. Until then – HWTL!

  16. @JDC

    Unbelievable … from the poll 19% of those polled are amateur accountant suck ups.

    The other 4% are so far up Ashley’s @rse their toenails are brown.

    The rest are fans who want to see players on the pitch and not money in Ashley’s pockets.

    He’s a billionaire and they’ve had the money for eight months … admit it they’ve let us down big time.

  17. JDC says:
    September 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    “As usual most fans talk rubbish. Llambias is absolutely right not to push the price of second rate strikers up by agreeing to pay over thge odds”

    If you think that the club have been pursuing “second rate strikers” JDC, do you think that’s a good thing? Sounds rather silly to me.

  18. Paul in Hollywood says:
    September 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    “If we play badly and hit the relegation zone they’ll need to re-tool and maybe one or two heads will roll.”

    It’ll just be the wrong heads again Paul.

  19. Well, who knows Worky? If I am asked if NUFC is better off today than before the Kevin Keegan/Joe Kinnear era, then I would have to say yes. As much as I loathe Derek Llambias and am very disinclined towards Mike Ashley, our finances have had to be cleaned out and put back on track; we have a good (albeit small) squad of enthusiastic young players who are not going to bleed us for wages for the next several years, unlike many Premiership clubs with large squads filled with over-paid players; and I think we have a manager who can create stability in a very difficult situation and who likes to play attacking football. So I’m being optimistic and I think if the majority of fans are optimistic it will rub off on the players and manager and we can have a great season allowing us to continue building on solid footing for the future. HWTL.

  20. JDC. Lets be honest here. We were awash with money due to Ashley willing to accept “over the odds” for Andy Carroll. It is simply a case of supply and demand. If you don’t understand that rule you are in danger of not getting what you need. Doesn’t that seem to fit the bill in this case!

  21. Spot on Worky, good article.

    Total BS throughout, but it’s ok though innit, lets lap it up and wait until the next window, when that £10 million or so we bid for Ruiz, disappears and we have to sell to buy…

  22. Thanks Jimbob.

    I did a bit of research to separate the definites from the media BS, and I think the one we missed out on was Papiss Cissé from Freiburg. He just seems to have scored a ridiculous amount of goals in the last two seasons and he’s Demba Ba’s Senegal teammate.

    I would have had him, even if I had to bid over £12 million for the gadgie.

  23. I’ll never understand how we bid 8 mill for someone yet it’s not enough, but we’ll bid 10 mill for someone else yet it’s not enough…

    So why not just bite the bullet and pay the extra 1 million? It’s hardly going to bankrupt us! We’re not asking for signings like the Shepperd era!

    Seems as though we could have had Pieters for 6 million, but we wouldn’t raise it from 5 mill, so we got Santon instead. Probably because Enrique went for 6 million, so we MUST make a profit on the replacement… All very well, but we had 35 million available, so why can’t our replacement striker be worth at least 12 million…

    “If he’s worth 12 million (milner), our guy has got to be worth 9 million (replacement)” – Keegan.

    Fair enough, but as you say… This Cisse seems to be the best of the bunch, why were we even interested in Erdinc?

  24. Also, could we ban any pictures of Llambias on the blog please? I’ve just got me laptop running smoothly again and the last thing I want is a fist shaped shatter across the screen. :-)

  25. Jimbob says:
    September 4, 2011 at 1:07 am

    “Fair enough, but as you say… This Cisse seems to be the best of the bunch,”

    Oh he is Jimbob, trust me on that one. He’s worth around £14 million and we reportedly bid around £7 million.

  26. Just had a look at them vids Worky. If he carries on as he is, he’ll get snapped up by a biggun pretty soon.

    Shame though, why not just buy him for x amount? Because if he progresses as well as he is now, they’re surely going to make a profit on him, it’s not like he’s 29…

    If we bid £7 million for him, that’s laughable but not unexpected…