After banking around £19m in transfer profits since taking over as Newcastle owner eight years ago, the word is that Mike Ashley will let new boss Steve McClaren turn on the money taps this summer, but St James’ Park is conspicuously lacking fresh faces thus far.
Indeed, the Geordies are one of just four Premier League clubs yet to sign a player since the transfer window opened, despite various press sources insisting they’re oh so close to making a number of purchases.
Wolfsburg’s Bas Dost, QPR’s Charlie Austin and Bordeaux’s Diego Rolan, each of whom bagged at least ten goals in their respective leagues last term, have all been mentioned as potential Toon targets, but despite talk of £10m-plus bids there doesn’t seem to be much happening.
Newcastle fans will have kept everything crossed over the weekend in the hope of a successful conclusion to their club’s reported move for Dutch attacking-midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, with rumours swirling that the 24-year-old was in talks over a move to the north east.
Last season’s 14-goal Eredivisie star was then thought to have been left out of his current employer PSV’s squad for a pre-season tour, with his Premier League switch so far down the line, but the trail has gone much colder since.
Sky Sports now believes Newcastle are merely ‘considering’ a move for Wijnaldum, with Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg the only club to have put in a bid for the 19-cap Oranje regular so far.
That sets McClaren’s first signing back at least a couple of days and probably more, meaning the former England manager is currently stuck with a squad that only secured their top-flight status on the final day of last season, having lost nine of their previous ten fixtures.
You can have 5/1 about Newcastle going down next season, and while such a scenario seems unlikely after last term, interim boss John Carver did at least have a 27-point buffer when he took over from Alan Pardew in early January.
If McClaren oversees a bad start to the campaign, as he did during spells at Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest in the past four years, Newcastle don’t presently posses enough quality to work their way back, so Ashley needs to unburden himself of a few million post-haste.