By now, everybody associated with Newcastle United should be fully aware of the fact that any business conducted under Mike Ashley has to meet one key criterion: it must be as cheap as humanly possible.
For 12 years now, the controversial businessman has run his operation on Tyneside with that simple mission statement, even if it has meant compromising on quality over the years.
The fact that the club only broke their transfer record, a record that had stood since 2005, in January, should tell you all you need to know about Ashley’s stingy priorities, and there are no signs that he plans to break the habit of a lifetime this summer.
And that will no doubt make the latest update on one of the Magpies’ reported targets all the more worrying.
According to TEAMtalk, the Toon Army are after Bristol City defender Adam Webster.
That in itself is no surprise. Webster was crowned Player of the Year for the Robins in his debut season last term, and his average of 4.3 clearances and 2.1 interceptions per game, as reported by Whoscored, hints at a player who marshals his backline with a domineering presence.
The report from TEAMtalk claimed that City were willing to listen to offers of £12 million for Webster, but manager Lee Johnson has strongly denied this figure, as reported by the Bristol Post.
And that’s surely bad news for Newcastle. Webster is a real talent, and without the assurance of a set price from Bristol City, who knows how high is stock could rise.
If his price creeps up over the nest few weeks, the Magpies are unlikely to keep pace with a burgeoning bidding war, and if they do, this could prove to be a much costlier venture than initially anticipated.