If you were a betting man you would put money on Alan Smith not appearing in a Newcastle United shirt again. The former Leeds and Manchester United midfielder has joined League One side MK Dons on loan until the end of the season. This is hardly a surprise given the fact that the 31-year-old midfielder has only featured twice for Newcastle this season, but the terms of the deal may raise a few eyebrows.
Given Alan Smith’s huge contract, there was never a chance that MK Dons were going to pay for all of it, or even half of it, but maybe at least a significant part of it. However, that’s not the case as it is being reported that the League One club are paying just £2,500 of Smith’s £60,000 a week contract. That’s about 4% of his wages, leaving Newcastle to pick up the other £57,500 through to the end of the season. This means that the Magpies will be paying around £1 million for Smith to play for another club, if MK Dons make it to the playoffs (they’re currently 5th in the table), so is it wise for that money to go down the drain?
I suppose the way you could look at it, was that Smith was unlikely to feature for Newcastle again this season, so for the player at least, it’s good for him to be getting some competitive football. It seems that’s the way Alan Pardew has looked at the situation, as well as the Newcastle hierarchy. MK Dons manager Karl Robinson told MKDons.com “I would publicly like to thank Alan Pardew and Newcastle United for going the extra mile to help us complete this deal,” so if anything the Magpies have pushed this deal through.
While Alan Smith’s Newcastle career wasn’t exactly a shining success, he was an important member of the Championship winning team under Chris Hughton. Playing 85 league matches for the club, unfortunately Smith failed to find the back of the net in a competitive match for Newcastle. He just wasn’t the same player after his horrific injury and was never going to be worth the £6 million that Newcastle paid for him in 2007, let alone his £60,000-a-week wages.
Alan Smith is one of the last survivors of an era at Newcastle when big wages were handed out left, right and centre. Newcastle are still paying for that now and his loan move to MK Dons for the rest of the season represents the last £1 million down the drain.
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