Newcastle United’s activity in the January transfer window can be described as less than spectacular. But, when you take a closer look at the details, it seems like there might be an actual thought process given to incoming transfers. Who would have thought it? Whatever your feelings for Mike Ashley, let’s put them a side for a moment and take a look at the players Newcastle have signed:
- Danny Simpson: 23 years old. Full-back. Fee paid: £750,000
- Mike Williamson: 26 years old. Defender. Fee Paid: £1,000,000
- Fitz Hall: 29 years old. Defender. Fee Paid: Loan deal until end of season.
- Wayne Routledge: 25 years old. Winger. Fee Paid: £1,500,000
- Patrick van Aanholt: 19 years old. Full-back. Fee Paid: 1 Month loan deal.
- Leon Best: 23 years old. Striker. Fee Paid: £750,000
The first thing that jumps out at me is the age of the players. Not one of them over 27 years old and have their best years ahead of them. Secondly, it’s a good mix. We’re short for defensive cover, so two loan deals work out well. The addition of Best and Routledge are uninspiring, though they both provide pace – something we’ve been lacking all season.
Best and Routledge are hardly prolific, and one has to wonder whether Best is just another Ameobi, and if he is, why are we signing players who are on a par with what we already have. Surely the point of the transfer window is to improve the team? Clearly these are squad additions. I would much rather have seen a loan deal for someone who has shown they are able to play in the Premier League (Vaughan), than someone who’s hardly setting the lower leagues alight with goals (Best). But, we can’t have everything, and if he can make a name for himself at the Toon, then good luck to the lad.
Would this squad be able to compete in the Premier League? Most likely not. But Mike Ashley’s refusal to pay over the top wages is at least making some financial sense. Victor Moses’ wage demands were apparently too much for a Championship club, and the way Wigan are playing, there’s no guarantee of their Premier League status.
We have to come to realise that the snowy days and Tino Asprilla walking in the front doors of St. James’s Park are gone, but that doesn’t negate success. Our priority is promotion, and with the players we added to the squad, we’re a lot better off than we were a month ago. Oh, getting rid of Geremi doesn’t do us any harm either.
*Player transfer fees are estimates.