Summer transfer windows under Mike Ashley for Newcastle fans are always a torturous process. Will he invest even the bare minimum? Will Charnley dither again in securing targets? And now we have Rafa, will he stay if it looks like we still aren’t ‘doing things right’?
It may be a bit early and it could also be tension from the past, as the window is not really in full swing yet, but I worry already the warning signs are there that Newcastle will make the same mistakes this summer as they did last.
What new and familiar factors is Rafa working against to get what he needs this summer?
World Cup year – holds up deals?
We have he added pressure of it being the World Cup, which is great as a football fan but transfer wise, it unquestionably holds deals up. The top players will of course be playing at the tournament and often banned from National coaches from discussing deals with clubs until their national stint is over. Although Newcastle won’t be in for the likes of Griezmann – it sometimes takes the big deals like this to start and then filter down the rest of the market.
We also may be trying to sign players who play for some of the smaller World Cup participants and like us with Mitrovic, clubs rightly won’t sell until after the tournament in case they do well and suddenly see their value rocket.
Window set to shut earlier – more need for early business
Complicating this further, Premier League clubs voted in favour of shortening the summer transfer window – meaning the window will now shut early August, a few days before the new season kicks off. It means two weeks less of player trading and is good in many respects as it means starting with a settled squad. However, add the World Cup in the mix and Newcastle need to do business and quickly. Ashley won’t spend big money as we know, but that’s more reason to act fast on the targets we’ve been identifying for goodness knows how long. We can’t afford to keep standing still yet you get the feeling he constantly ignores Rafa’s wishes.
Feels like we’re having to sell before we buy…
Already the Ashley machine seems to pushing out our high wage bill and it seems shifting the likes of Mbemba, Sels and Mitrovic is needed before we can bring fresh faces in. This is frustrating.
With us having the full effects of TV money now after a full year back in the top flight, cash flow should not be holding Rafa back. We need to get rid of deadwood, that is clear – but it should not be driving our ability to recruit as much as it appears to be.
Slow to secure targets? (again)
Rafa always states he wants business done early, a clear warning after the slow antics of Charnley and co. that cost us some top targets last summer (Abraham and Cabellero by all accounts). Have we learnt from those mistakes? I’m not sure sure – especially after claims that Ashley won’t back Rafa until he agrees to a new deal, coupled with the fact Benitez won’t entertain any new contract until Ashley proves he’ll show ambition this summer. So, another impasse where we’re wasting time and frustrating Rafa?
In amongst all this, it is reported Benitez wants a minimum of four signings tied up quickly to get some real momentum this summer – and knowing the Ashley/Charnley combination, this seems so unlikely.
With Spain sacking their manager today, another clear threat has resented itself to us and the very real chance Rafa will leave and say enough is enough.
Let’s hope our owner finally learns from his mistakes and secures the long term of the biggest asset we have.
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About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.