Ranking every January transfer window at NUFC – From £35m bombshell to buying all of Ligue 1!

For Newcastle fans, the recent January transfer window was a refreshing reminder of what can be achieved with a dose of ambition.

Despite a slew of – ultimately unsuccessful – protracted bids for the likes of Diego Carlos, Sven Botman and Jesse Lingard, and an eleventh-hour Hugo Ekitike snub, the Magpies were the highest spending club on the planet during the winter aperture, splashing around £90m on five new acquisitions.

Always a challenging time to conduct business, the mid-season window is one which has often passed the Toon by without a tremor since its inception during the 2002-03 season.

Here we rank all 20 of Newcastle’s January transfer windows to date from worst to best, listing any notable deals that took place:

20. Old Firm Favours (2005)

Jean Alain-Boumsong (£8.5m, Glasgow Rangers)
Amdy Faye (£2m, Portsmouth)
Celestine Babayaro (Free, Chelsea)

Craig Bellamy (Loan, Celtic)
Olivier Bernard (£400k, Southampton)
Ronny Johnsen (Free, Valarenga)


Miserable Scot Graeme Souness set about gradually eroding team spirit at NE1, leading to the loan departure of in-form Craig Bellamy and sale of beloved full-back Olivier Bernard.

Signings were dreadful and illogical, accentuated by clumsy French centre-half Boumsong, a player previous manager Sir Bobby Robson rejected on a free transfer five months earlier, and who had bumbled along since in the weaker Scottish Premier League.

Amdy Faye was a player akin to Jeff Hendrick after a dose of Diazepam, and Babayaro was more intent on partying than playing at this stage in his decline.

19. Lua-Lua blunder proves costly (2004)

Michael Bridges (Loan, Leeds)

Nolberto Solano (£1.5m, Aston Villa)
Carl Cort (£2m, Wolves)
Lomana Tresor Lua-Lua (£100k loan, Portsmouth)
Nikos Dabizas (Free, Leicester City)
Clarence Acuna (Free, Rosario Central


On the face of it, Sir Bobby Robson was clearing dead wood to clear a path for promising youngsters on the books, but the sale of Nobby Solano meant the side lacked natural width on the right – central midfielder Lee Bowyer often shunted into a wide role.

The biggest blunder was reserved for Lua-Lua, who joined Portsmouth on loan for a small fee, with the club forgetting to include a clause preventing him from playing when the two sides met at Fratton Park a short time later.

Predictably, the diminutive Congolese livewire scored a late equaliser to deny Newcastle a crucial three points in their Champions League hunt, with the Toon having to content themselves with fifth place instead.

18. Legends leg it (2014)

Luuk De Jong (£1m loan, Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Yohan Cabaye (£19m, Paris St Germain)
Jonas Gutierrez (Loan, Norwich)

Former Newcastle United striker Luuk de Jong linked with West Ham - Geordie  Boot Boys


Having only signed Loic Remy on loan in the summer, Newcastle added the first of two cursed De Jong brothers to the squad later that year, with striker Luuk failing to trouble the scorers in 13 listless appearances.

Wantaway Cabaye was allowed to leave, despite having the most prolific spell of his career, and Jonas was unceremoniously dumped out on loan to avoid triggering a contract extension.

Unsurprisingly the club’s promising season lurched from the fringes of Champions League places to the limbo of mid-table, as apathy saw a promising side plunged into rapid decline, with relegation confirmed within 18 months.

17. Loan Rangers (2015)


Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (£5.5m, Roma)
Davide Santon (Loan, Inter Milan)
Hatem Ben Arfa (Released)
Kevin Mbabu, Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana (All loaned to Rangers)


Mike Ashley had purchased around 9% of the shares in Rangers the previous October, and now lumbered the Scottish club with four injury-prone Newcastle youngsters on full wages – only Vuckic played more than one game for the Glasgow side.

The sad decline of Ben-Arfa saw the final months of the mercurial winger’s contact paid off, while Yanga-Mbiwa had failed to adapt to the pace of the English game and was cut loose.

Davide Santon, reluctant to leave, was forced out having fallen from favour, and the clueless John Carver steered the side to a depressing eight consecutive defeats – the club tumbling towards freefall before Jonas’ final day heroics against West Ham.

16. Au revoir à l’énigme (2006)


Laurent Robert (Free, Benfica)


The love affair between Laurent Robert and Newcastle United reached its denouement, with the set-piece maestro departing to Portugal without a fee being processed.

The talented Frenchman had been pivotal in the Magpies’ rise to the Champions League, with a highlight reel of 32 wonderful goals for the club, although he would frustrate as often as delight.

No other business of note was conducted, with a frivolous summer of high-profile incomings having drained the coffers.

15. Promotion reinforcements rejected (2017)


Cheick Tiote (Free, BJ BSU)
Tim Krul (Loan, AZ Alkmaar)


With Rafa’s promotion chasers involved in a three-way scrap with Brighton and Huddersfield, the Spanish coach was keen to return Andros Townsend to Tyneside after his summer move to Crystal Palace had faltered.

Mike Ashley wasn’t budging, choosing to risk missing out on the land of milk and honey by sticking with the current crop of players.

A past his peak Tiote and unfit Krul were peddled to lighten the wage bill – the latter temporarily.

14. American nightmare (2007)

Oguchi Onyewu (£250k Loan, Standard Liege)



Another January, another unwieldy centre back – this time in the shape of American international Oguchi Onyewu.

Built like a Quayside doorman, ‘Gooch’ never appeared comfortable with the pace of English football and had to be coaxed through games by partner Steven Taylor most of the time.

Amazingly, the 69-cap defender’s next move was to Italian giants AC Milan, although injury meant he never played a match in Serie A.

13. Blunder-kids aplenty (2008)

Tamas Kadar (£1m, Zalaegerszeg)
Ben Tozer (£200k, Swindon Town)
Fabio Zamblera (Free, Atalanta)
Lamine Diatta (Free, Besiktas)

David Rozenhal (£900k Loan, Lazio)
Shola Ameobi (£500K Loan, Stoke City)
Celestine Babayaro (Free, LA Galaxy)

Diatta makes Accies move | Football News | Sky Sports


Mike Ashley’s masterplan of signing young players on the cheap and selling them at a high markup began in this window, with three teenage additions – none of whom threatened to make the grade.

Failed moves for Jonathan Woodgate and Luka Modric were the result of bizarre negotiation tactics, with useless Vice President of player recruitment, Tony Jiminez, allegedly the reason for the failure to secure the Croatian maestro.

It was he who told the future Ballon d’Or winner’s agent that the player wasn’t good enough to start for a Newcastle side boasting the likes of Geremi and Alan Smith in the centre of the park.

12. An unwanted hattrick (2020)

Danny Rose (£1.8m Loan, Tottenham Hotspur)
Valentino Lazaro (£1m Loan, Inter Milan)
Nabil Bentaleb (£700k Loan, FC Schalke)

Sung-Yueng Ki (Free, RCD Mallorca)


With Steve Bruce’s side floating a few places clear of relegation danger during the manager’s inaugural season ‘back home,’ owner Mike Ashley opted to plunder the loan market rather than stump up for permanent signings.

In came a chubby imitation of England left-back Danny Rose, pedestrian central midfielder Bentaleb and the slightly more promising Lazaro, although none of the trio made a positive impression and few tears were shed when they return to their parent clubs that summer.

Ki was a low-profile departure.

11. Given away among the chaos (2009)

Kevin Nolan (£4m, Bolton Wanderers)
Ryan Taylor (£750k, Wigan Athletic)
Haris Vuckic (£60k, NK Domzale)
Peter Lovenkrands (Free, FC Schalke)

Charles N’Zogbia (£6.2m, Wigan Athletic)
Seamus Given (£5.9m, Manchester City)


With the Magpies stranded in the bottom three during a debacle of a season, loyal custodian Shay Given had his head turned by Man City’s exciting new project, having become disillusioned with the chaos at his beloved Newcastle.

Charles N’Zogbia had made noises about joining Arsenal and Real Madrid, but ultimately settled on the dimmer lights of Wigan – citing his chagrin at Joe Kinnear’s mispronunciation of his name (Kinnear called the young Frenchman ‘Charles Insomnia’ in an interview).

JFK and Ashley secured the services of three players who would prove essential in future seasons, but only Lovenkrands settled in good time. The club also beat a host of rivals to the signature of exciting 16-year-old Slovakian midfielder Haris Vuckic.

10. Andy out, Shefki in (2011)

Hatem Ben-Arfa (£5.2m, Marseille)
Shefki Kuqi (Free, unattached)
Stephen Ireland (Loan, Aston Villa)

Andy Carroll (£35.2m, Liverpool)
Xisco (Loan, Deportivo La Coruna)

5 of the biggest transfer flops in Premier League history - 11v11


The infamous window where Andy Carroll was sold for a mammoth £35m (Mike Ashley later gleefully revealing that The Reds were also penalised £200,000 for a late instalment).

With the deal completed so late in the window, there was no time for a legitimate replacement, with fans fearing the worst when nomadic lower league trundler Shefki Kuqi rocked up, having been released by Championship club Swansea.

The Carroll mugging, coupled with the addition of mercurial playmaker Ben-Arfa, made this a retrospectively decent window, although at the time it left supporters disillusioned.

9. Roll of the dice results in snake eyes (2016)

Andros Townsend (£12m, Tottenham Hotspur)
Jonjo Shelvey (£10m, Swansea City)
Henri Saivet (£5m, Bordeaux)
Seydou Doumbia (£600k Loan, AS Roma)


Newcastle relegated from the Premier League: What went wrong? | Football  News | Sky Sports


With Steve McLaren’s inaugural campaign descending into relegation strife, Ashley loosened the purse strings a tad, with £27m spent in January.

Shelvey’s initial form was hit and miss, while Saivet and Doumbia reeked of desperation and poor scouting.

Townsend was scintillating, but his efforts were in vain as a promising window couldn’t rectify the damage done in the first 20 games.

8. Miggy adds a new dimension (2019)

Miguel Almiron (£16m, Atlanta)
Antonio Barreca (£700k Loan, Monaco)

Jacob Murphy (£400k Loan, West Bromwich Albion)

Miguel Almiron shouldn't be an automatic starter for Newcastle United -  Geordie Boot Boys


Rafa Benitez finally got his man, as Paraguayan winger Miggy Almiron swapped MLS for EPL in a mid-season move.

The fleet-footed attacker added a new dimension to the side, becoming part of a potent three-pronged attack alongside Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez as Newcastle ended the season in style.

Antonio Barreca was a waste of a squad place, barely gracing the pitch in his five months on Tyneside.

7. Vive la revolution (2013)

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (£6.7m, Montpellier)
Mathieu Debuchy (£5.5m, Lille)
Massadio Haidara (£2m, Nancy)
Moussa Sissoko (£1.2m, Toulouse)
Yoan Gouffran (£900k, Bordeaux)
Kevin Mbabu (£700k, Servette FC)

Demba Ba (£7.5m, Chelsea)
Xisco (Free, Cordoba CF)
Nile Ranger (Released)

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was destined to replace Fabricio Coloccini at Newcastle,  but is now nowhere to be seen - Geordie Boot Boys


A strange season where Ashley and his honchos failed to build on an astounding fifth place by overseeing a quiet summer window, attempting to compensate with a Winter spree.

No less than five French players (and one Swiss) joined the fray mid-season, but the one that got away – Loic Remy – proved perhaps the costliest, with Chelsea activating Demba Ba’s release clause to leave Newcastle shorthanded up top.

Sissoko settled quickest, memorably skinning Ashley Cole and looking like a beast during his initial months.

6. Upgrades aid late-season resurgence (2018)

Islam Slimani (£1m Loan, Leicester City)
Martin Dubravka (£850k Loan, Sparta Prague)
Kenedy (Loan, Chelsea)

Aleksandar Mitrovic (£600k Loan, Fulham)
Jack Colback (Loan, Nottingham Forest)
Henri Saivet (Loan, Sivasspor)

Newcastle United - Newcastle sign Kenedy on loan


Possibly Benitez’s finest value for money signing, Dubravka was instrumental in keeping Newcastle up – following a sparkling debut against Man United with a string of solid displays.

Kenedy provided energy and for a time appeared to be one of the most promising young players in the country.

Injury prone Slimani wasn’t up to much though, while Rafa ditched the unfancied Mitrovic in a controversial move.

5. Taking the Papiss (2012)

Papiss Cisse (£9.5m, Freiburg)

Kazenga Lua-Lua (£900k, Brighton and Hove Albion)

Papiss Cisse on the Newcastle United dream he can still achieve and the  advice he'd give Joelinton - Chronicle Live


The season’s surprise package, Newcastle snagged the highly rated Cisse in an effort to secure an unlikely top-four finish – narrowly missing out when ending fifth.

The Senegalese striker hit the ground running with a glorious volley winner against Villa, following up with a hatful of ever more impressive strikes.

Of his 13 in 14 matches, a barely fathomable strike at Stamford Bridge was the highlight – world class ‘keeper Petr Cech clutching thin air after being bamboozled by the thunderous banana shot.

4. Seven-up for Joe (2021)

Joe Willock (Loan, Arsenal)

DeAndre Yedlin (£300k, Galatasaray)

Joe Willock Newcastle unveiling in pictures as Arsenal loanee takes No 28  shirt - Chronicle Live


Possibly the club’s greatest loan signing ever, Joe Willock scored on his debut against Southampton before embarking on a club-record equalling seven game scoring streak.

The youngster’s form propelled Newcastle from 17th to 12th by the final reckoning, with fans clamouring for him to make the move permanent.

DeAndre Yedlin was a surprise departure, as he seemed a better bet than fellow right-back Emil Krafth, with a small fee recouped for the USA international.

3. Bobby’s Babes in title shakeup (2003)

Jonathan Woodgate (£8m, Leeds United)
Darren Ambrose (£1m, Ipswich Town)

Marcelino (Free, Poli Ejido)

Jonathan Woodgate reveals truth about Newcastle exit after fighting back  the tears in final chat - Chronicle Live


Sir Bobby’s youthful brood was bursting with vibrancy, and the astute additions of Woodgate and Ambrose provided further evidence of the legendary manager’s penchant for developing talent.

Woodgate, when fit, was a Rolls Royce defender – instantly making the likes of Titus Bramble much more dependable through his leadership.

The departure of Marcelino was another feather in Robson’s cap, with the Spanish centre-half’s bloated salary finally removed from the wage bill after three-and-a-half disastrous years.

2. Targets missed, Targett hit (2022)

Bruno Guimaraes (£41m, Lyon)
Chris Wood (£25m, Burnley)
Dan Burn (£12.5m, Brighton and Hove Albion)
Kieran Trippier (£12m, Atletico Madrid)
Matt Targett (£2m Loan, Aston Villa)

Jeff Hendrick (Loan, Queens Park Rangers)
Freddie Woodman (Loan, Bournemouth)
Matty Longstaff (Loan, Mansfield Town)


The first transfer window under Saudi ownership fluctuated between frustration and fantasy, with high-profile targets difficult to secure, although a quintet of additions are all welcome upgrades.

Although too early to rate the window as a bona fide success or failure, Bruno and Trippier are marquee acquisitions, while all five appear to be good characters behind the scenes.

One more forward – a £33m deadline day Hugo Ekitike snub and Manchester United scuppering a move for Jesse Lingard – would probably have made this Newcastle’s best ever January window, on paper at least.

  1. Promotion trailblazers receive reinforcements (2010)

Leon Best (£1.6m, Coventry)
Wayne Routledge (£1.2m, Queens Park Rangers)
Mike Williamson (£1m, Portsmouth)
Danny Simpson (£750k, Manchester United)
Patrick Van Aanholt (Loan, Chelsea)
Fitz Hall (Loan, Chelsea)

Geremi (Free, Ankaragucu)

Newcastle: Seven years on from title glory, how does Rafael Benitez's crop  compare to Chris Hughton's? | The Northern Echo


Having suffered the ignominy of relegation the previous season, the Geordies blazed a trail for a swift return under the watchful eye of Chris Hughton.

The January window was punctuated by shrewd investments to ensure the promotion push wouldn’t falter and, other than Best, all signings played a pivotal role in the second half of the season.

Ditching the woeful Geremi – allegedly as much as seven years older than his claimed age – reportedly equated to a saving of more than the accumulative wages of all six January additions!

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