Writing in his mailbag in The Athletic, Alan Shearer has criticised Newcastle United’s transfer strategy.
What did he say?
When asked whether or not he would ‘stick or twist’ with manager Steve Bruce, the St. James’ Park legend instead pointed to problems behind the scenes at the club.
“In terms of changes that could be made now, it’s a problem. I don’t think the squad is full of answers,” he wrote.
“Steve had no input in the players signed by the club during his first summer window and I can’t for the life of me see what the strategy was.
“Signing Joelinton for £40 million and giving him the No 9 shirt when he isn’t a centre-forward? What was the thinking there?”
Is he right?
Absolutely though that does not absolve Bruce of any blame.
Indeed, Joelinton is thought to have been scouted 26 times prior to his arrival and, yet somehow, nobody noticed that he wasn’t playing as a traditional number nine. Committing a club record £40m towards his signing, it is hard to see what those behind the scenes thought they were getting from him.
Still, Bruce is understood to have had more of a role in the recruitment this time around and, while Callum Wilson has been a success, the likes of Ryan Fraser and Jeff Hendrick have been questioned after slow starts to life on Tyneside. Jamal Lewis, meanwhile, has also struggled.
Lamenting the process behind the scenes at Newcastle will be nothing new for supporters, who have had to deal with this ownership since 2007.
After everything that has happened (two relegations, the lack of interest in cup competition, various poor managerial appointments) it doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out that the Mike Ashley regime is the constant problem. However, Bruce has been backed more than previous bosses and, as Luke Edwards pointed out, surely has a squad of sufficient quality to stay in the Premier League.
If he cannot keep this team up, Bruce is as much to blame as the ownership.