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Newcastle United

Why Newcastle United have to break their transfer record this month

Jake Jackman



Photo: Reuters

Newcastle United are facing a huge final week of the transfer window as they attempt to bring in the players required to ensure they remain in the Premier League. A third relegation under Mike Ashley’s ownership would be a disaster and it seems that the board are now realising this as they have been kicked into action.

At the beginning of the month, business was slow and it seemed that the Magpies were going to let another opportunity to strengthen pass them by. Rafa Benitez still didn’t know his budget on January 12th, but the lack of proactivity shouldn’t come as a surprise as it has been endemic to the football club in recent seasons.

The breakdown of the takeover came as a disappointment to supporters, but it could lead to the current owner investing in the club. The Mirror reported a few days ago that Mike Ashley was willing to spend what it takes to give Newcastle the best chance of staying in the Premier League.

A large section of the support scoffed at the report, as it was seen as nothing more than a PR exercise from the club to lead fans on. However, this would be counter-productive as supporters would soon see no signings materialise and direct even more anger towards the owner.

It is one thing having the intention of doing deals and another thing to stick to your word. The next seven days will be crucial for the club as they attempt to source and bring in the players required, with a striker being top of their agenda.

The Chronicle report that the Magpies are locked in talks to sign Feyenoord forward Nicolai Jorgensen. The 27-year-old is highly-rated by Benitez and the club may have to pay up to £20 million to secure his services.

This would be a watershed moment for Mike Ashley as a club-record fee would be required to convince Feyenoord to sell the Danish international – a record that has stood for 13 years and precedes the Sports Direct tycoon’s ownership.

He has been reluctant to spend big money and maintain the rate of inflation that has become ludicrous in football. However, the longer he has remained at the helm, the more inevitable it has become that he will have to break that record.

Although it is encouraging that Newcastle are willing to break their transfer record this month, as alluded to in the Chronicle’s report, it feels like an empty gesture from the owner considering the money now in the game.

Their previous record fee saw them sign Michael Owen from Real Madrid. At the time, the England icon was one of the best players that the nation had to offer and it was a signing that showed impressive ambition. His career on Tyneside was a disappointment, but that shouldn’t take away from the enormous nature of the transfer.

However, an eight-figure transfer fee in the modern market doesn’t buy a world-class player. In fact, it doesn’t even guarantee that the player will improve your team.

Middlesbrough paid £15 million for Britt Assombalonga last summer in the Championship, which underlines the inflation of transfer fees since Newcastle set their current record. Back then, spending that sort of money showed ambition. Now, it is merely maintaining the pace.

Despite being reluctant to spend huge sums of money at Newcastle, Mike Ashley did manage to achieve relative success in the transfer market during his early tenure at the club. Graham Carr regularly managed to source talented players for low fees, which allowed the club to carry out a very good business model.

Yohan Cabaye was signed for £4.3 million, before being sold on to PSG for £19 million. Meanwhile, Moussa Sissoko joined for a bargain fee and left years later to sign for Tottenham in a £30 million deal.

The owner probably expected that a similar strategy could be utilised when the team were promoted back to the Premier League in 2017. However, he has quickly learned that isn’t the case, as summer signings Joselu, Javier Manquillo and Florian Lejeune have all struggled to shine at St James’ Park.

The caveat to more money being needed to sign quality is that if recruitment is done right, these same players can be sold on for an even larger profit. Southampton are a great example of a club evolving with the times as they have been prepared to spend more on their targets with a view to selling them on for huge fees down the line.

Benitez will have realised the short-sightedness of Mike Ashley since becoming manager of Newcastle as he has regularly been left short in the transfer market. The Spaniard needs to talk in a language that the owner does understand and that is money.

Not only could Jorgensen score the goals to secure the club’s safety, a prolific 18-months in the Premier League would see his value skyrocket. If he is worth £20 million on the back of successful spells in Denmark and Holland, he would be worth even more if he was to do well in England.

The next seven days will tell us a lot about the future of Newcastle United. Mike Ashley needs to give Benitez the tools to do his job and show that he can be trusted to stabilise the club as a Premier League team until a takeover takes place. Breaking the 13-year transfer record would be a good start.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Derby County

Newcastle United should take advantage of Matej Vydra’s low asking fee

The Czech international has scored 20 goals in the Championship this season.

Josh Kerr



Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United ensuring another season of Premier League football represents one of Rafael Benitez’ most impressive achievements in football to date.

The job done by the Spaniard is all the more admirable considering the Magpies striker options have been thin for large periods of the season, and the arrival of a goal-scorer is surely imminent for the Tyneside club.

According to The Telegraph, Derby County are likely to list their top-scorer Matej Vydra for sale after their failure to earn promotion to the Premier League.

This comes as massive news to a number of clubs in England’s top-flight, and Newcastle should be one of the front-runners queuing for the 26-year-old’s prolific services.

The Czech Republic international has been excellent this season firing 20 goals in 35 appearances for the Rams.

Reports suggest the club may be forced to sell their star striker in order to reduce the club’s £35 million wage bill ahead of next season.

The 26-year-old’s sale this summer will be Derby’s attempts to slash their budgets and form a strategy that is going to enable the club to push for promotion once again next season.

A fee of around £8 million could prove a major boost for Newcastle, considering the club’s financial restraints, and a 20-goal striker would surely be an improvement on Benitez’s current front-line options.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Islam Slimani’s loan move from Leicester proved to be a disaster, and the arrival of Joselu was one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.

The club are in desperate need of a goalscorer, with Perez leading the club’s individual efforts, despite being a number 10 and not an out-and-out goalscorer.

Vydra also has rare Premier League experience with West Bromwich Albion, as well as Watford, and his graft in the Championship may mean he’s ready for a return back to the top-flight.

The former West Brom striker guarantees goals and if there is one thing Tyneside supporters have missed in recent years, it is a goal-scoring hero.

At a little over £8 million, he could still prove a real bargain and a relatively insignificant risk.

Benitez has been wanting to break the bank since his arrival in 2016 but may be tempted do a deal on the cheap for the highly-rated striker.

Newcastle will be looking to improve on their impressive 10th place finish next season and the firepower of a genuine goalscorer could see them surpass the highs of this campaign.

Vydra offers pace and is even an aerial threat at just 5ft 2, so it has to be a priority for Newcastle to capture one of the bargains of the season and bring Vydra to St James’ Park.

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Manchester United

“Imagine thinking Phil Jones is better”: Newcastle fans react to Jamaal Lascelles omission

Newcastle fans can’t believe Jamaal Lascelles is not going to the World Cup this summer.

Max Cohen



Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea narrowly defeated Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, thanks to Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty.

United centre-half Phil Jones conceded the spot-kick, felling the Belgian in the box and drawing the ire of Twitter in the process.

Newcastle United supporters were baffled at Jones’ poor cup final performance and criticised England manager Gareth Southgate for selecting the 26-year-old defender ahead of Jamaal Lascelles in the World Cup squad.

Against Chelsea, Jones made headlines for his high-profile mistake 20 minutes into the match.

The defender was caught flat-footed just inside his own half when Cesc Fabregas played a lofted ball in the direction of Eden Hazard.

The Belgian’s first touch was excellent and left Jones for dead, putting the Englishman on the wrong side of the ball.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Hazard then cut back across Jones, before the defender lunged into an ill-timed challenge that got nowhere near the ball.

In a cup final of such importance, mistakes such as Jones’ can prove immensely costly. And as United lost the match by the solitary goal, the centre-back’s error was devastating.

And the Manchester United defender’s poor showing incensed English supporters, who were furious at his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man team.

In particular, Newcastle United fans felt aggrieved that Jones was selected in front of their captain Jamaal Lascelles.

Lascelles has been superb all season for the Magpies, marshaling the Newcastle defence while leading the club to an impressive tenth-placed finish.

Unlike Jones, who has been an inconsistent feature in United’s side, Lascelles featured in 33 Premier League matches this season – ten more than the United defender.

The Newcastle United faithful expressed their discontent at the England manager’s defensive team selections, arguing Lascelles would have proved a far more effective option in Russia.

And as one intrepid Twitter user noted, when Newcastle United played host to Chelsea just one week ago, Lascelles kept Hazard in check and held the Blues scoreless. Jones, on the other hand, capitulated in the face of the Belgian’s skills.

England face Belgium on 28 June in their final group stage match; Newcastle and Three Lions fans alike will be praying Phil Jones does not feature.

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Huddersfield Town

Newcastle United toxicity means Rafa Benitez should move to West Ham

The Spaniard is being linked with a move to London.

Max Cohen



Photo: Getty Images

After West Ham United announced David Moyes would be leaving the club this summer, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been heavily linked with the position by Sky Sports.

Although Benitez has worked wonders at St. James’ Park and enjoys life in the Northeast, he should make the switch to east London to finally enjoy the transfer budget he deserves.

There can be no questioning the Spaniard’s tremendous accomplishments at Newcastle. Benitez was appointed too late to save the club from relegation in 2015/16, yet achieved promotion at the first time of asking in 2016/17.

Even more impressive, the ex-Liverpool boss steered the Magpies to a tenth-placed finish this season.

The team was largely the same squad that won the Championship the previous year, and it is a testament to Benitez’s skills as a manager that he led Newcastle to the top half of the table despite minimal investment.

(Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

In particular, the manager craved a top-class goalscoring striker, yet was never given the funds to pursue a centre-forward that could effectively lead the line for the Magpies.

But it is simply unacceptable that a manager of Benitez’s quality is denied access to substantial transfer funds to strengthen his squad. In December, the Spaniard publicly aired his frustration at the uncertainty surrounding his transfer budget, due to the frugal nature of owner Mike Ashley.

There had been hopes that a takeover would occur at Newcastle, but recent reports claim that the move is off after Ashley increased his valuation of the club.

Unfortunately for Benitez, this seems to signal another offseason of limited funds and missed transfer targets. Ultimately, conditions such as these are unacceptable for a manager who has brought so much success to Newcastle.

A move to the London Stadium would allow Benitez to truly shape his squad with a generous transfer budget, a luxury that the Spaniard must be craving after several barren years under Mike Ashley.

Rafa Benitez would do well to leave behind the toxic reign of Ashley and move to West Ham, where he would be appreciated and rewarded by a supportive ownership.

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