Words by Aziz Khalil – follow him on Twitter @azizk47
. Written for NUFC 360
– a base for all things Newcastle United, and a place where you won’t see shameful advertising on everything NUFC-related.
After a dreadful season, the last thing Newcastle United supporters wanted to see was a struggling off-season. We are now midway through June, almost in July, and NUFC have yet to sign a single player. With holes at the centre back position, left back (Dummett is not a starting player in the English Premier League, in my opinion), a centre midfielder and a number 9 striker; nothing has yet to materialize. Patience is running thin and it is definitely time for Mike Ashley to pull through with his promises.
Names like Charlie Austin, Andy Carroll, Joel Matip, Florian Thauvin, Bas Dost, Saido Berahino, Ashley Cole and even a Yohan Cabaye return are being linked to NUFC. Two weeks ago, Simon Bird from the Mirror reported that Charlie Austin to Newcastle was a done deal, yet nothing has emerged. After all, it is “silly season” but when someone like Simon Bird reports a signing, people will tend to believe him.
What is the hold up and why haven’t Newcastle ponied up to get their transfer window rolling, you ask? Well, there could be a few reasons. After NUFC parted ways with John Carver and Steve Stone, there are now voids to fill in the coaching staff. Steve McClaren might want to appoint a coach and a backroom staff before starting with the transfer signings. With Paul Simpson, Steve Round, Bolo Zenden, Ian Cathro and Steve Black (amongst others) all being linked to Newcastle United, it is clear that McClaren would love to fill that void as soon as possible. Secondly, teams may simply be asking too much for their players. Lee Charnley and Steve McClaren may have a different value on specific players than what these teams are asking for or what the market is dictating.
For example, Saido Berahino being valued at a whopping £30 million might not exactly be where NUFC rate him. Sources also say Charlie Austin will cost £15 million, which is very reasonable, especially for an English striker who has EPL experience (unlike Bas Dost or Juanmi). Thirdly, management and scouts are now targeting the Bundesliga (as reported here by Mark Douglas); this is somewhat of a drastic change from previous targets, Ligue 1 in France and Eredivisie Dutch league.
The value and market, which also ties into the second reasoning, differentiates from league to league. English players are higher rated than others (see: Carroll, Andy). Newcastle United’s loyal and passionate fan base has always been an enticing aspect for players, but with the season they had last year and the ownership problems, could players now think twice before signing in the Northeast? With that being said, I think that once NUFC appoints a coach, which could happen as early as this week, the transfer window will (hopefully) get rolling.
At the end of the day, it is simply inexcusable to have the same centre backs as the ones that NUFC had in their Championship season.
No offence to Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor, but it is time for this team to turn over a new leaf. Being linked to Joel Matip and Aymen Abdennour is a good start, but these rumours need to come to fruition.
Newcastle fans do have a lot of faith in head scout Graham Carr and know he will pull through. Maybe Alan Pardew did not rate the CB position the way McClaren does, but it has become a much more pressing need than striker, in my honest opinion. On a positive note, Newcastle only signed 2 players before July 1st last season (Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback), one of which was on a free transfer.
As each day passes, tolerance becomes much more slim. Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley must act quickly and follow through with their end of season promises or else things may turn sour. Does that not sound familiar? It sure does. Welcome to the life of a Newcastle United Football Club supporter, where your team has one of the biggest fan bases in all of England, but spends like a mid-table club.