Nothing speaks more about the situation Newcastle United are in than the decision to open talks with Andy Carroll over a new contract. This news comes just days after his name was published on the Premier League website as one of the released players.
This suggests that the club did submit his name as a player they wouldn’t be retaining, before a change of heart has led to discussions being open. On social media, fans continue to debate and get excited about the potential takeover led by the PIF, Amanda Staveley and Reuben brothers. There is no doubt that this deal would likely lead to a much more exciting period following the football club. However, the malaise and lack of progress is holding us back.
There was a new spate of reports about the confidence within Mike Ashley’s camp that the ongoing legal cases will bring a positive resolution. It may come to pass that it does. However, the world of law spins slowly. There are hearings, appeals and delays. The Premier League won’t go down lightly, even if it comes to light that they are in the wrong. This means, a positive conclusion is likely to take time.
If the Premier League were going to accept this deal quickly, they would have already.
In the mean-time, the football club continues to drift in a state of paralysis. The rumour of a new deal to Andy Carroll underlines that point. Not even Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United believe the former England international is still capable of performing consistently at Premier League level. If they did, his name would never have been published on the Premier League website as one of the released players.
Since that decision was made, there has clearly been discussions about the level of finance available this summer, or lack of it. Based on this, Steve Bruce may have decided that it will be better to keep Carroll around to ensure he isn’t left short next season.
A decision to keep Carroll wouldn’t even be a bad move due to his own regression. It would also take up one of the precious 25 places in the Premier League squad, which reduces our ability to bring reinforcements in.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have shown ambition in their attempts – albeit unsuccessful – to appoint Nuno Espirito Santo and Aston Villa are cherry picking star players from other bottom half Premier League teams, looking to sign James Ward-Prowse after agreeing a club record deal for Norwich’s Emi Buendia. These are sides looking to push forward, while we are left trying to offer a new contract to a striker who has scored just once in the last two seasons. In the campaign that has just finished, he played just 384 minutes in the Premier League.
It highlights the issue of keeping hold of this takeover. There is uncertainty about the short and long term future of the club. Ashley is even less willing to release funds, as he could be selling in the coming months. Steve Bruce is in charge, despite being a poor Premier League coach and there is no ambition to appoint anybody else who may be able to push the club on.
We have managed to avoid relegation in the last two seasons, but there is no doubt that we are merely staying still. In the Premier League, that is a dangerous thing to do, as eventually more ambitious clubs will pass us by. We have already seen Leeds United and Aston Villa push on beyond us. Brentford are a well run club, who will want to push on in the Premier League. They could be next.
This takeover process post agreement has now been ongoing for well over a year. At some point, Mike Ashley needs to move on. I am not believing that it is a choice between this consortium or Mike Ashley. There will be more interested parties out there.
This legal process and ongoing commitment to the takeover is becoming an issue. There are only so many seasons that we can expect Steve Bruce to keep this side in the Premier League without further investment. We will see what the summer will bring, but the transfer business at Arsenal is already a concern. They are set to sell Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin. Their need to sell Joe Willock is decreasing day on day.
If we don’t bring Willock back, we will already be starting next season in a weaker position than we ended last season in. That doesn’t even bring into focus the need to strengthen the rest of the squad.
It is okay for Ashley to pursue legal proceedings, but he can’t let the team stagnate at the same time. This time next year, he may have lost his legal cases and we may have been relegated.
At this point in time, that seems more likely than PIF owning the club.