Let me truly kick off the NUFC Daily with a rather belated recap of the transfer window, and our involvement (or lack thereof) in it.
If we look back to the end of last season, I don’t think many people would doubt that we were rather lucky to escape relegation and that the squad was in need of improving if we were to kick on next season and progress. Alan Pardew was very clear on what he expected from the club hierarchy when it came to signings, and had this to say to the Chronicle on 20th May,
“We still need to make sure we get two or three recruits in there which take us forward.
“If we can do that, they’ll grow as well, and we’ll be much, much better next year.”
Needless to say, when the manager is calling for 2 or 3 players, that is as clear an indication as one needs to determine what he thinks of his current squad; it wasn’t strong, or deep enough to cover the injuries and suspensions that we suffered last season, which is a view that many of us would share, I would imagine.
Then the shocking news towards the end of June was that Joe Kinnear was to return to the club in a Director of Football capacity, and that he was to oversee incomings and outgoings during the transfer window and even he conceded that we needed strengthening up front when he gave THAT interview to Talksport on 17th June
“If you look at our goals tally last season, I think we lost our top goalscorer in Demba Ba when he went to Chelsea …
“I think we need to sign a prolific goalscorer to come in and assist Cisse.”
He then went on to say that this is one of the key areas and that they might look to strengthen in other areas.
So the summer window swung open and many were interested to see what, if any, business Newcastle United would do, would they do their business early and look for a bargain, or play hard ball like they did last summer? No one knew. It became very clear though, when Kinnear went on a 2 week holiday just after the opening of the summer window, that Newcastle United were in no hurry to do any business quickly, other than ridding the club of Steve Harper, our long serving goalkeeper, and 2 of our most improved players in recent seasons, in Daniel Simpson and James Perch, as well as casting his eye over long term target Douglas, whom he deemed was not good enough.
So the days turned to weeks, with Newcastle United being linked to a variety of different players, Aubameyang who went to Borussia Dortmund, Wilfried Bony who signed for Swansea, and Siem de Jong who stayed at Ajax, as well as Bafetimbi Gomis amongst a whole host of other names across Europe. Without going into too much detail, as we all know how the story ends, we ended up signing none of them, in fact we went through the entire transfer window without signing anyone on a permanent deal! We did get Loic Remy on a season long loan deal, but that was surely in the pipeline long before Kinnear came to the club.
With summer disputes with Cisse over Wonga, and Cabaye over a bid from Arsenal, this surely has to go down as one of the worst transfer windows in a long time. Pardew said we needed “two or three” in order to improve upon last season’s 16th place finish…does this mean we’re destined for another season of misery? I hope not.