Now that the dust has settled on the January transfer window, and that two rounds of fixtures have been played since it was slammed shut, we can now truly see whether the dealings done by Newcastle United meant for a successful window or not. In total four players joined the Magpies, with the same number leaving the club either permanently or temporarily until the end of the season.
The first deal made by the transfer committee was the incoming of Henri Saivet from Bordeaux for £5million. The defensive midfielder was seen as the perfect replacement for Cheick Tiote, who incidentally did not leave St James Park in the window. The Frenchmen made more than 130 appearances for his former club after making his debut in the 2007-2008 Ligue 1 season. The tough tackling midfielder will increase the competition for places in the centre of midfield with Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita already challenging Tiote for his place should he decide to leave. My thoughts is that Saivet will be allowed to settle into his new country and surroundings for a few more weeks, while Tiote will continue to play, before the Ivory Coast international leaves for pastures new with the Chinese transfer market still open until 26 February 2016.
Transfer Rating: C+ – On previous form Saviet is definitely better than the majority of the players currently in his position and currently boasts a far better disciplinary record than Tiote. However, it is hard to properly rate him until he plays a few for games for Steve McClaren’s team.
A day after Saivet joined the club, he was followed by another central midfielder in the form of Jonjo Shelvey from Premier League survival rivals Swansea for a reported fee of around £12million. According to Newcastle boss Steve McClaren, Shelvey has been a target of the club’s transfer committee, on McClaren’s advice, since the summer window. While previous approaches had been rebuffed, by January Shelvey had found himself out of the 1st team picture at the Liberty Stadium and wanted to move to force his way into the England Euro 2016 squad. Since joining, Shelvey has already provided two assists in four games, as well as many eye catching long range passes to the Newcastle wide men. Although his temperament has been questioned in the past at both Swansea and Liverpool, and Newcastle must be aware to stop this happening again.
Transfer Rating: A – Shelvey is the playmaker that Newcastle have been looking for since Yohan Cabaye left for Paris Saint Germain in January 2014. His range of passing has been shown in his performances since joining and if McClaren can keep the boy happy then the club has some player on their hands.
Another reported £12million was spent on fellow England international Andros Townsend to bring him in from high flying Tottenham Hotspur. Townsend had been out of the first team picture at White Hart Lane since playing in a Europa League fixture in October 2015. During this time there was also a well-documented spat with a member of the backroom staff which seemed to put the winger’s future at the club in further doubt. During his time at Spurs, Townsend was often vilified by the supporters for playing on the right wing and cutting in to shoot with his stronger left foot at almost every opportunity. However McClaren informed Townsend that he wished to play the Englishman on his favoured left wing position in order to make the best out of his crossing ability. Although we have also noticed that he likes to shoot with his right foot as much as he did with his left. With the Euros just round the corner, Townsend will be hoping to catch Hodgson’s eye in order to be on that plane to France come June.
Transfer Rating: A- – Since joining Townsend has played in two games for Newcastle enjoying two very different performances. While he struggled at Everton, which so did the majority of the squad, he showed his quality at home against West Bromwich Albion. He was only denied a 1st goal for Newcastle by the post after a smart build up by the team. If he stays fit and continues like his performance against WBA then he could surely turn into a bargain.
The final transfer to join the Newcastle squad was the loan signing of Seydou Doumbia from Serie A side Roma. This transfer came as a surprise as the Ivorian only signed for Roma last January, however he has spent the first half of this season on loan to previous club CSKA Moscow after a disappointing first 6 months in the Italian capital. Any fans of computer games such as FIFA or Football Manager will tell you that Doumbia is a proven goalscorer with electrifying pace and skill. It is true that the Geordie Faithful do love a goalscorer but a lot of fans will tell you that they would have rather the club pushed for the transfer of a proven Premier League goalscorer such as Saido Berahino instead of taking a risk on a player new to the country, with their top flight status still under threat. Rumours of the players fitness in Russia will not ease the fan’s worry about this signing.
Transfer Rating: C- – This is mainly based on the high profile of the signing rather than his form since joining because although Doumbia has been on the bench for both of Newcastle’s games since joining, he has failed to actually make it on to pitch. Although he struggled in Italy, this does not mean that he will necessary struggle in the Premier League, he just needs to actually get some game time under his belt. He has scored goals for fun in Russia and the Champions League, and he will need to hit the ground running when he does start playing in games.
Overall Window Rating: B+ – Although Newcastle made some pretty decent signings, the lack of a Premier League proven goalscorer and a backup left-sided defender were considerable misses for the transfer committee. We are led to believe that they did make two bids for Saido Berahino which would have smashed the transfer record however, fans are left wondering why it was left until the last few days to make their move. West Brom were unlikely to sell unless they were able to bring in a replacement. Also the decision to let Shane Ferguson leave the club on a permanent deal when both of the first team left backs are out injured was a decision that worried a lot of Newcastle fans. They won’t be happy to see Jack Colback and Rolando Aarons fill in. This idea of playing players out of position was thought to have been lost when Alan Pardew left the club.
Featured image: all rights reserved by Dom Fellowes