The business done by Rafa Benitez and the board this window has so far been very good, both in and out. There have been some solid acquisitions of hungry players who have trained and performed well in pre-season. The price for Ritchie was slightly high but it was still a good signing to replace the loss of Townsend. Many supporters will be looking forward to Gayle banging some goals in and the arrival of the promising Isaac Hayden to replace Tiote in the long term looks to be rather shrewd.
There is still much to be done though as several Newcastle players may still leave the club, Sissoko and Thauvin look set to leave and Tiote will also more than likely depart before September comes. Add to that the uncertain futures of Siem De Jong, Riviere and Goufran who could all be sold should some desperate club feel the urge to place a bid.
So with several additions still required and with Benitez only able to offer Championship football to any possible targets, it’s surprising Newcastle have not taken advantage of the loan market yet this summer.
With Newcastle continuously linked to Championship players you have to wonder how many footballers from the second tier the club should purchase. If we are to be in the Championship for just the one season, and that should not be taken for granted by the way, not for a second, then do we want to be lumbered with Championship players on long contracts when Rafa is planning on bigger and better things for United’s future? Surely if we are aiming for the top half of the Premier League, then the players we hand five year deals to, need to be able to perform at that level don’t they?
The players acquired so far have the ability or potential to do so. Even the only player we have bought from this division so far – Grant Hanley – is an international footballer and young enough to improve. Some of the players linked with Newcastle do not have enough quality to make the step up to the Premiership and would probably need to be sold again should the club get the promotion it so dearly craves.
The loan option then, to my mind, is an attractive one. Take some players who crave first team football on a season long loan to help address the unbalanced squad and add depth to areas in need of improvement. There is a financial advantage with minimal fees involved compared to spending millions on full transfers. It is also a low risk strategy. Should the player struggle to settle or perform then Newcastle will not be in the position they currently find themselves with the likes of Thauvin, De Jong and Riviere. Should the player turn out to be a success, then a bid could be submitted next summer.
It is not a perfect system but it is one Newcastle could take advantage of as they look for players to ensure the squad has enough depth to survive the rigours of a 46 league game season. Top clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and the two Manchester sides have plenty of talent struggling for game time. Newcastle should tap their resources without stuffing their wallets.