After a hugely disappointing campaign last season, Newcastle fans were hoping for a reshuffle over the summer in order to improve going into this season. Some were hoping for a managerial change, others wanted a tactical change and the majority wanted new signings to prevent the squad being stretched again. This was a problem last season as Alan Pardew faced injury problems with key men like Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa missing more matches than the club would have liked. The solution to all of Newcastle’s problems was in fact to hire Joe Kinnear as Director of Football. At least that is what Mike Ashley came up with. Kinnear was quick to big himself up and claimed he could pick up the phone to any manager in world football. Sadly for Newcastle fans, Kinnear’s phone book hasn’t been updated since 2004.
Newcastle only made one senior signing this window as Loic Remy came in on a season long loan from QPR. The Frenchman, who turned down the Magpies earlier this year, is a quality striker who does improve the squad, but he has legal issues on the horizon which could make his stay on Tyneside very short. It’s unclear whether the deal comes with an option to buy with some local journalists claiming it does, while others have said it’s only a loan. If it doesn’t, then it makes little sense as it is only putting off their striker search for another year. It would have been foolish to sign Remy permanently this summer due to his upcoming court case, but if he comes through it, Newcastle would surely have to get the striker on a permanent deal.
As is expected with Twitter, there have been rumours aplenty about who Newcastle are trying to sign. Bafetimbi Gomis nearly joined the Magpies after a fee was agreed with Lyon but agent fees prevented that deal from going through. It may be similar to Mathieu Debuchy’s deal last season which led to the defender joining in January. Especially as Gomis’ contract only has a year to run so Lyon may be keen to get some sort of fee when January comes around. Other players who were heavily linked included Douglas, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Demba Ba, Darren Bent, Florian Thauvin, Tom Ince, Andre Ayew and Yoann Gourcuff but these all led to nothing.
Even deadline day brought nothing for Newcastle fans, despite Alan Pardew’s claims that the club still wanted to bring in at least one more player. Young Watford goalkeeper Jonathan Bond was linked with a late move, while there were claims in France that Newcastle made a bid for Caen midfielder Ngolo Kante who only joined the Ligue 2 outfit earlier this summer. Sadly there was no deadline day signing for the Toon Army to get excited about. Yet the club are still in desperate need of a left winger and another striker.
In slightly better news Yohan Cabaye stayed at the club after Arsenal failed to meet the valuation set by Newcastle. There is lots of cynicism from Newcastle fans about whether the club really wanted to keep their vice captain. Pardew advertised the fact that the club would struggle to keep Cabaye if a Champions League club made an offer for the midfielder. After Arsenal made a £10m bid for Cabaye, the board may have expected them to increase that bid but that didn’t happen. Some fans believe that the club planned to use the Cabaye money to sign two or three new players but as the Frenchman was never sold, the club couldn’t bring in their own targets. This only begs the question where has all the extra TV revenue gone?
This summer has been a huge disappointment for Newcastle with key squad players like James Perch and Danny Simpson leaving without anyone coming in to replace them. The squad is weaker than the one that finished last season but the first eleven is stronger with the addition of Remy. Newcastle have stated that the likes of Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were supposed to be summer additions, but their transfers were brought forward six months to ensure the club kept their Premier League status. These claims felt like the club wanted the fans to be grateful for January. Also it was as if they were trying to take the attention away from a poor summer transfer window. Newcastle have always lacked ambition under Ashley as he seems happy to finish bottom half every year and pick up the money that Premier League status brings. This summer only confirmed that as they were the only side not to sign a first team player on a permanent basis.
Joe Kinnear asked fans to judge him on his signings. Well Joe, you have only backed up everyone’s views that you are not fit for this role.