The reasons Newcastle United have NOT added to their squad in the transfer window
Newcastle United look unlikely to add anyone to their ranks before the closure of the summer transfer window, with only a permanent deal for Joe Willock to show for their activity since the end of last season. Here we take a look at why they’ve not improved their lot as the window close edges closer.
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To many it is inexplicable, but to Newcastle United it makes perfect sense.
Steve Bruce wanted a midfielder - or two - a central defender and ideally another full-back and forward.
United look set to end the window with just Joe Willock to show for the summer efforts, if that’s what you want to call it. It ain’t over til it’s over, but time is running out for United to do any business today - the clock run out at 11pm.
Here we take a look at the reasoning behind their strategy - and the excuses, however justifiable or not, given for their inactivity.
The 25-man squad clear out excuse
One thing United have done well this summer, if anything, is the clearing of the decks.
It is hard to remember a summer where the Magpies have managed to squeeze so many unwanted and barely used players from their ranks. In fact, the clear out started back in January with the preempting of DeAndre Yedlin walking for free by getting a small fee from Galatasaray as well as Rolando Aarons’ move to the Championship.
Florian Lejeune, not rated by Bruce, went for a small fee with Christian Atsu, Achraf Lazaar and Henri Saivet all eventually cutting ties. Yoshinori Muto was another trimmed from the monthly wage bill, although his exit was from cheap.
United now find themselves with 25 players eligible for the Premier League’s 25-man squad lists. That’s something United have not been able to say for quite some time, in fact, most clubs in the top flight find themselves over-subscribed. That, of course, is not a positive way to do business - and despite a desperate need for freshening up, United look to have closed ranks.
Their self-imposed strict policy of keeping within the number of the 25-man squad, despite the fact four of those are keepers, is in many ways self-deprecating.
The four goalkeepers thinking
One recovering from Covid, another still out after an infection lengthened his spell on the sidelines.
With Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka still some way off a first-team return, Newcastle have been relying on Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie as keepers this season.
The problem Bruce has is, does he take a risk and name three or put four in the squad?
His constant hinting at naming four suggests that his thinking is it’s needed, although a doctor’s report on Darlow may have altered that mindset over the weekend.
The Championship ‘trading’ argument
Another one used by Bruce in recent weeks - and to be honest this does hold some weight. Although further highlights United’s lack of flexibility and agility in an ever-changing market.
If things had worked out normally, I’d think at least Matt Ritchie would have dropped down to Bournemouth. Dwight Gayle might well have been another who would have switched to the second tier, despite signing a new deal.
Others such as Ciaran Clark and Jeff Hendrick may have also interested clubs in the lower tier.
But the reality has turned out very different.
Clubs have just not spent in the Championship, and as a result that has impacted on what United thought might supplement their meagre summer budget.
Still, the fact Newcastle and Bruce were relying on this so heavily is a sign that all was not right.
The cash shortage talk
Budgets have been debated all summer at United - and the final summary looks like there was, as expected, very little to play with.
Yes, Joe Willock came in for a top line figure of a little over £25million, but this was brokered in stages, with a small(ish) up front fee and the rest in instalments. When Bruce said this ‘broke the rules’ he meant the staging of payments, nothing else, as United normally buy outright as a slightly reduced price. That’s just the way Mike Ashley does business.