By Neil Langer
When reviewing last season – most of us credit Rafa with getting the best out of what some called a ‘Championship squad’ and our final league position (10th) was much better than we expected.
Game by game last season, I felt we were getting 100% effort from a unified team, happy to be giving their all out at St. James’s Park. We were, however, lacking class and that bit of quality in the squad.
This transfer window is looking like another missed opportunity, as we continue to look for bargains over proven quality players. What price is a quality goal scorer? I would suggest £25m plus.
Imagine what could be achieved this season with Rafa’s motivation, that same effort from the players and a touch of genuine quality up front.
We we’re getting £22m for Mitrovic (and that could rise to £27m according to Sky) – a player who hasn’t exactly cut the mustard in the Premier League. How we use that money is so important, but buying the Joselu’s of this world for £4-£5m doesn’t even meet the expectations of the Championship, never mind the top flight.
Japanese striker Muto could turn out to be a decent squad player and an upgrade on Gayle and as for Rondon, well he may well by Rafa’s marque signing this summer, but I’d like to bet he wasn’t the first, second or third choice on Rafa’s wanted list.
As for ‘If Rafa goes we go’, I will never stop supporting the Toon but in the short term I will stop lining Mike Ashley’s pockets. After all, he doesn’t spend the money he receives on Newcastle United, does he?
I am seeing what I believe are shrewd signings, but they are not the players to take us to the next level and convince Rafa Benitez to stay at the club under Ashley’s reign.
Subject to Rafa staying, we can expect more of the same at best this season – and that is exactly what Mike Ashley wants. An owner with no ambition who looks to do the bare minimum to keep us afloat.
Eleven days and counting!!!!!!
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