Almost a week has passed now since the end of the summer 2011 transfer window, and the most reasoned comment I can make is that we all finally know where we stand regarding the Newcastle’s plans for the future, both in a financial and on-field sense. Derek Llambias’ midweek statement on the subject ruled out knee-jerk reactions and paying overpriced fees for players in desperation, merely to get someone in the door. Make of that what you will, I think that a chance has been missed to show aspiration to improve the team within financial constraints , by failing to land an affordable striker by Sept 1st. It’s also worth mentioning that it hardly required a knee-jerk reaction to find an affordable striker who could improve the first team and negotiate a deal in the 7 months between Feb 1st and Aug 31st. It would have been knee-jerk to suddenly try and hijack a deal set up by another club on the final day before the window closed, but we don’t really believe that happened, do we? No, the club hierarchy knew their plan, stuck to it, and then indulged in a bit of PR on Aug 31st to placate those still yearning for cash to be chucked at a bunch of foreign millionaires. The club made a choice what to do with profits from previous transfer windows and newly-found operating profit from the club’s first year back in the Premier League. Though the accounts aren’t yet out for 2010-2011, by looking at revenues for the club’s previous year in the top division and taking into account the fact that wages now are barely half what they were then, it’s fairly safe to assume that for the first time in several years a profit was made.
Be that as it may, we are all now aware that the club will sell any player if they receive an acceptable offer for them. We know that the scouting team will perform miracles finding good players to replace the outgoings, but that those replacements will only be signed if they don’t dent the balance sheet too much. It’s also clear that profits on previous player trading don’t go into an account to be used in future transfer windows, but are used to soak up the debt which is owed to the club’s owner Mike Ashley after he made up the shortfall in company accounts over a number of years. Now we know.
With that in mind, and there only being a year until the end of the summer 2012 transfer window, I thought I’d give the club a head start and list a few players they may be interested in signing then. I’ve made a selected list of players out-of-contract next summer who would then be available to sign, listing their name, position, current club and age:
Hoilett WM Blackburn 21
Rodallega S Wigan 26
Sejad Salihovic LM/LB Hoffenheim 26
Tranquillo Barnetta RM Leverkusen 26
Andreas Beck RB Hoffenheim 24
Manuel Schmiedebach DM Hannover 22
Daniel Schwaab RB Leverkusen 23
Mario Gaspar RB Villareal 20
Hedwiges Maduro CB Valencia 26
Andreu Fontas CB/LB Barcelona 21
Anthony Vanden Borre RB/RM Genk 23
Nicolas Lodeiro AM Ajax 22
Cristian Rodriguez LM Porto 25
Salamon Kalou S Chelsea 26
I’ve resisted the temptation to put Berbatov on there, obviously he doesn’t match the profile of our signings any more, but the rest all do. All young enough to have resale value after a few years in the team, all currently playing in the top divisions of Europe, some current internationals, but all most importantly free.
Free, of course, apart from all the signing-on fees, wages and agents fees which cost so much apparently. Still, surely we could sign one or two of these and plug some gaps in our squad. I admit I haven’t seen them all play, but that’s what scouts are for isn’t it? Over to you Graham, find some value for us.