Newcastle United and Chelsea are currently locked on 53 points in the Premier League table as they fight for 5th place and possibly even a Champions League qualification spot. However, the way they’ve got there is a very different story as Roman Abramovich has splashed the cash at Stamford Bridge, while Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley have carefully gone about compiling a squad on a tight budget. It is thanks to Chelsea that Newcastle have been able to put such a good squad together as well.
Back in January 2012, when Chelsea put in a £50 million bid for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, you wouldn’t have imagined that it would have had such as a huge effect on Newcastle. That bid of course triggered Liverpool’s pursuit of Andy Carroll, and a couple of days later Ashley had pocketed £35m. That was the easy bit, but was the necessary starting point for Newcastle to have the cash in the bank to fund their search for talented new players from the continent.
And boy have they done that well. Demba Ba is still arguably the signing of the season, having been acquired from West Ham on a free at the start of the season. Then there’s Yohan Cabaye, who is pretty much the complete midfielder and a French league winner to boot, who was signed for less than £5m – a snip for a player of his calibre. Add to that the £10m January purchase Papiss Cisse, who has scored seven goals in seven games, and you’ve got three players who can change games – three match winners.
You don’t need me to tell you what Andy Carroll’s been up to over the same period of time. He’s struggled to find the back of the net, even struggled to get on the pitch most of the time, and has now been outscored by Cisse. His terrible time at Anfield culminated in the match on Sunday, when he lost a lot of respect in my eyes for his attempt to win a penalty and then let frustration get the better of him as he ripped of his shirt, swore at his manager and stormed down the tunnel when substituted. Fernando Torres’ time at Chelsea hasn’t been much more fruitful either.
The bottom line is that if Chelsea hadn’t of splashed out on Torres, Carroll could well have still been at Newcastle and Ashley’s wallet would have been £35m lighter. As it is, Newcastle have spent their Carroll fund wisely and now Chelsea have some real competition from the north-east for 5th position in the Premier League.