Newcastle’s transfer rumours appear to be split into two categories at present, fantasy and reality. Most come with the tagline that they will not happen unless the Saudi backed takeover goes through during this summer window. In that scenario, it has been suggested some big-name signing such as Philippe Coutinho could arrive as a statement signing.
However, in truth, the more likely occurrence, which Mike Ashley is currently planning for, is that the Magpies will have just £35m plus player sales to spend in this transfer window. In this eventuality, Steve Bruce will have to be incredibly diligent concerning his recruitment. Although Paul Merson has warned that even if Newcastle had a wealth of riches, they could still get relegated.
What did he say?
Speaking to Sky Sports, analysing what every club requires in the transfer window, Merson said: “If you’re Newcastle, you might spend £200m, and it still might not break you into the top six. It probably wouldn’t, so why would you keep on spending now if you were Ashley?
“The name of the game for Newcastle is to minimise spending and to stay in the league. It’s all well and good saying you need to show ambition, but how much is that going to cost? £300m? £400m? Arsenal are eighth,” added the former Gunners midfielder.
“If you’re the owner of a club and no one likes you there, are you going to spend £400m to move you up two more places? If it doesn’t go right, you could get relegated,” suggested Merson.
Minimising spending is precisely what Newcastle have been prioritising under Mike Ashley, and it took until last year for the owner to break the 2005 transfer record of Michael Owen, by bringing in Miguel Almiron. Only six months later it was broken again to with the arrival of Joelinton for £40m, but it is worth noting Ayoze Perez had recently departed for £30m to Leicester City.
Overall Newcastle’s net spend last season was just £33.53m, almost identical to the £35m plus player sales which it has been suggested Bruce will get this summer. While Merson has suggested that Newcastle could get relegated after spending £400m, without Saudi investment, there is also an incredibly high chance of dropping back into the second tier.
If the expected points table is to be believed, the Magpies were fortunate to avoid relegation this time around, and the model predicts Bruce’s side should have finished 20th on 31.92 points. Regardless of the Newcastle manager’s transfer kitty, he must get his dealings right to avoid beating the odds again this term.