The defeat against Manchester United, a match where the result absolutely did not reflect the performance, was nevertheless a stark reminder of where Newcastle United currently are in the pecking order in the best league in the world.
Even as recently as their last venture into the Premier League following relegation 7 years ago, the buying power of the club has dropped dramatically; a point proven by the staggering statistic that Manchester United’s returning Paul Pogba cost over £12 million more than Newcastle’s starting 11 combined.
There are a lot of naysayers who suggest that money doesn’t guarantee success – and they’d be right in part. Far from shying away from a big money buyout, I still don’t want a repeat of the disastrous start Everton have made to this season now that they have money to burn.
Newcastle’s performance in the first 30 minutes against the Manchester outfit showed that Benitez has worked well with his squad despite the money gap, and it was two small errors that cost us the lead at halftime and set the foundations for Manchester United’s second half display. At times, you have to just accept that a game can slip away from you no matter what you try.
With news that Mike Ashley has rejected a bid in the region of £300m however, it may not be long before NUFC are able to buy big again, improve the squad and minimise the errors that the fans are all too accustomed to see.
Don’t expect a Man City-style revolution, though.
Gone are the days where only a small selection of clubs had the money and resources to go out and acquire the signature of any player they wished. If clubs like Everton are able to spend £50m on one player, Benitez will have to be just as savvy and resourceful as he was in the summer in order to obtain his transfer targets.
The thing that excites fans the most is that surely, should the club be bought over, the Spaniard won’t have to go down his list to the 5th or 6th options anymore –he can bid and snag the targets that he wants from the start and yet he is still experienced enough to know that introducing numerous big money signings will only destroy the current squad’s togetherness and positive attitude that it currently possesses and shows on the field.
Amanda Staveley has indicated that she wants a deal done quickly, however, in order to work with Benitez in the January window. I could see Newcastle signing one or two decent players should the money come in, but I’m also wary of what calibre of player we can tempt away from a club halfway through a season – surely, unless the figure is astronomical, no club would want their better players to depart when there’s still 5-6 months of the season to play.
It will be interesting to see if Benitez delves further into the Spanish market.
Although Mikel Merino was signed from Dortmund, the young Spanish midfielder would have fallen directly in line with Benitez’s revolutionised scouting network at Newcastle and one wonders whether his main targets in January and the summer will follow the trend he’s setting, where young, bright talent like the centre midfielder will be given the opportunity to shine in the English top flight.
The next few weeks could define the next decade for Newcastle United, and I for one am excited about the potential changes to come.
Written by Euan Hamilton
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