Assessing the big-money deals who couldn’t halt Newcastle’s demise

Date published: Wednesday 11th May 2016 10:33

Aleksander Mitrovic: Celebrates Newcastle's opener at Manchester City

Aleksander Mitrovic: Celebrates Newcastle's opener at Manchester City

We rate the big-money signings Newcastle made this season as hit or miss as the club suffered relegation frustration.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, for the first time in years, loosened the purse strings at St James’ Park when he sanctioned major investment in the squad for this season, but the team have been relegated from the Premier League.

Here, we take a look at what value he got for his money.

GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM – £14.5million from PSV Eindhoven

Georginio Wijnaldum: Midfielder signed from PSV last summer

Holland international Wijnaldum announced himself in style with a debut goal against Southampton and then blasted himself into the affections of the black and white faithful with a four-goal haul in their first league win of the season, a 6-2 demolition of Norwich. However, his influence has been minimal during the second half of the campaign.

Verdict: Jury out

ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC – £13million from Anderlecht

Aleksandar Mitrovic: Hit the winner against West Brom

Raw and at times ill-disciplined, young Serbia international Mitrovic initially struggled with the responsibility of providing the main goal-threat and although he has settled since, he remains a work in progress.

Verdict: Jury out

CHANCEL MBEMBA – £8million from Anderlecht

Chancel Mbemba Newcastle

A physical defender who started life on Tyneside impressively before injury and dwindling confidence interrupted his progress, Mbemba has been one of the few positives in a dreadful season.

Verdict: Hit

FLORIAN THAUVIN – £12million from Marseille

Florian Thauvin: Seals return to Marseille on loan

When Remy Cabella proved incapable of coping with the physical demands of the Premier League, Newcastle turned to a weaker, less naturally talented player in Thauvin to replace him, with predictable results.

Verdict: Miss

HENRI SAIVET – £5million from Bordeaux

Signed in anticipation of Cheick Tiote’s seemingly impending departure in January, Saivet has been involved only fleetingly as the Ivory Coast international remained with the club.

Verdict: Jury out

JONJO SHELVEY – £12million from Swansea

Jonjo Shelvey: No relegation clauses in five-year deal

Steve McClaren installed January signing Shelvey as his captain in the absence of the injured Fabricio Coloccini after impressive displays in victory in each of his first two home games, but he has struggled to make an impression since and has played only brief cameo roles under Rafael Benitez.

Verdict: Jury out

ANDROS TOWNSEND – £12million from Tottenham

Andros Townsend: Scored the winner on Saturday

Townsend’s pace and invention have added something to Newcastle and he contributed more than most to a growing sense of optimism as the season approached its conclusion, although his continued presence in the wake of relegation is by no means certain.

Verdict: Hit

SEYDOU DOUMBIA – Loan from Roma

Having failed to sign a proven goalscorer, the Magpies opted for the sticking plaster approach when they brought Doumbia in on a short-term deal, but neither Steve McClaren nor replacement Rafael Benitez saw enough in the player to use him to any meaningful extent.

Verdict: Miss

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Home Forums Assessing the big-money deals who couldn’t halt Newcastle’s demise

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  selion 8 months, 1 week ago.

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    James Marshment

    We rate the big-money signings Newcastle made this season as hit or miss as the club suffered relegation frustration.

    [See the full post at: Assessing the big-money deals who couldn’t halt Newcastle’s demise]



    I believe Newcastle’s big mistake was the coach they started of with. They should have cut the cord earlier, when things were not going their way.


    David B’s Toon

    Feel sorry for MacClaren and Rafa, as well as the Toon army: Ashley is the problem! And Pardew walked. My god, even Keegan walked.

    What more do you want to know.



    How is Ashley the problem? From an outsider, it looks like the fans turn on their players / manager / owner very easily. Ashley pumps money into the club, chooses managers with the fans backing (every time), backs each manager in the transfer market, and always ends up getting bitten. I don’t think Ashley stays because he’s a shrewd businessman I think he stays because he wants to establish the club in the top-half of the table before he leaves.

    I find Newcastle fans constant bitterness exhausting, can’t imagine how it must feel for them! And this season surely the blame falls on McClaren, everything club he touched since Boro has lacked inspiration (the fans were happy when he as appointed). Yeah the managerial change came too late, but I would imagine it is for want of some sort of stability, stopping the managerial merry-go-round. But if there is a different view inside the club please enlighten me, I just don’t think many outsiders feel particularly sorry for Newcastle fans any more.



    No one is asking anyone to feel sorry for us in the exact same way we’re not asking for the opinions of anyone else. It’s all too easy to sit from a far and comment on our club.



    I’m using the comments section for comments. It’s what they’re for. Can any geordies provide insight? I would love to know where all your vitriol comes from.


    David B’s Toon

    Selion I’d give you insight but I’d be wasting my time. You’d only go on and on and on — you get the picture. You only have to pick up a newspaper or watch SKY sports news and they are now up to date.

    We even have trolls like yourself that claim to support the club — wouldn’t surprise me if you were one of them.

    You know, this was a big chance for McClaren to prove himself and as a coach he has earned the respect from senior players and he doesn’t deserve this!

    Pardew saw the writing on the wall that’s why he left.

    But then, why am I telling you all this? You should be more excited about the new London mayor.

    Just over the river there’s a fantastic club ready to take off — you’re a million miles from being a top club like West Ham. Then again, so are we.

    Spurs are another great club — ready to ignite the premiership! As my Mags go down, they’re more deserving clubs ready to take on the top four. And why can’t they? They have wealthy backers and they’re financing their clubs.

    I’m not bitter — we had our chance and our owners just squeezed the life out of the club. Ashley is by no means the first and I only wish he was the last. Who knows if there’ll ever be a change at the top?

    And this time last year, I think Ashley did the right thing by appointing MacClaren — only wished he’d backed him — instead of the cronies he put in power ( I do take your point on board though [what has he done since leaving the Boro?]) — and Ashley’s spent a bob or two: this season! Plus he’s changed the structure of the club and brought in a top manager, but will he stay?

    Every page is a new chapter in my book — who knows what Ashley will do next? But he has the funds to turn us around — just doubt the desire. By all accounts, you agree. And?



    I’m honestly not trolling mate, I’m interested. I’ve just seen a good insight from Kevin Keegan last night –

    He says he had issue not so much Ashley, but the people he surrounds himself with. I guess the buck stops with Ashley. But along the same vein I was saying before, it does look like Ashley has tried to make decisions regardless of cost and backed the managers he hires. Why did you want Pardew out? And what’s with the cockney mafia angle? You think he invests his money at loss because so Londoners can have a laugh at your expense?

    A relegation is always gloomy (reminder that I’m a Wall fan) but like you said, Ashley has the funds to bring you back up. It just looks to outsiders that your fans spend so much time protesting every club decision that anyone who takes a job there is doomed from the start – manager / players / coaches / board members. The bad atmosphere won’t take the club forward.

    Again mate I’m just having a discussion, I don’t want you to take anything personally.


    David B’s Toon

    As Graham Souness once said “We’re only one game away from the roof caving in” something I agree we have to address!

    A Lot of our problems stem from the past — we’ve seen horrendous decisions made, not helped by our Edwardian stadium that was there before the one we have now. Before Freddy Shepherd and Sir John Hall — we were in a right mess. And you have to say, Keegan and the takeover (from Shepherd and Hall) gave us dreams we’d never had. Considering how bleak that time was — and it’s always there — returning to it is not an option.

    To be honest, I thought we were heading into the abyss before Ashley took over and he came: just at the right time.

    Going back then, I wish we’d have kept a hold of Allardyce. I know, you can’t go around telling everyone you’re broke, but using buzz words like “We have to build slowly” would have helped.

    Ashley gave himself a great platform by mentioning the “ten-year plan”. I honestly though he would have been given time. He was right to pay off the loan — we were haemorrhaging debt! And as much as I love Keegan — we were suffering from his over ambitious plans that matched his ego (but I loved him for it).

    Why go back there?

    I smelt a rat – maybe it was just incompetence?

    But when Keegan didn’t look like being supported and the strangest statements were coming out of the club [we] the fans, feared the worst.

    Then Keegan walked!

    All our fears answered…

    Ashley did nothing to damping it down: if anything. He poured petrol on the flames. Bizarre behaviour, jumping on a plane to the middle-east — does not help. Is Ashley selling? or does he have no intention of selling? Who is our manager? Joe Kinnear?

    And there you have it “Cockney mafia” and Ashley isn’t even a cockney there’s irony for yea.


    David B’s Toon

    Oh, and by the way. I think Newcastle can be every bit as big as Liverpool or Man United — Man City come to it (looking at what they’re trying to achieve) but it was a little ambitious for Keegan to try and do it under the time scale he gave himself and the way he tried to do it! But my goodness he almost did. And if he’d have sacrificed his brand of football in the last third of the season: we’d have done it!

    What doesn’t help is pundits are all too quick to push us back down and OK there’s that chip on the shoulder. I honestly believe that the likes of Spurs, Sunderland, Everton, Villa, Leeds and perhaps a new bigger West Ham can share in cup glory. In fact, I don’ think any club should dominate the game as there are too many big clubs!

    And why not have a so-called smaller club (like yours) win silverware? Like Leicester! And the size of the fan base does not make a club more or less passionate!!

    I always admire the football fan that supports the football, no matter what division it is in.



    Fantastic write-up mate, appreciate it. Plenty of insight I had no idea about (and a timeline I haven’t seen covered by any of the major news outlets). The main gripe then, I would imagine as a Newcastle fan right now, would be it took too long to make the decision that would have saved you – something which seems to be a theme for almost the last 2 decades. And I guess Ashley could massively do with help from his press office too.

    Leicester has definitely been everyones’ second club this year – great for the sport that tactical nous and passion can take a club like Leicester through the whole season. No end to the possibilities for the clubs outside the big spenders now (at least in our mind anyway).

    Good luck for the future, if luck is with us we’ll get to pay you lot a visit next season.

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