Do we really need signings in January?

Most likely gone in the summer

Most likely gone in the summer

I would like to start this article by stating that I am definitely not a fan of the January transfer window. Players are usually more expensive, they are thrown into the middle of an established squad and generally do not gel quickly, and are potentially cup-tied for the FA Cup if they have been signed from England – not that this is an issue for Newcastle United in recent years. However, the January transfer window can sometimes serve a very useful purpose. For example, I would venture that we most certainly would have been relegated last season had we not panicked and made 5 signings in the January transfer window of last season.

If, in the summer transfer window, the squad has been inadvertently (or deliberately as is the case with Mike Ashley) left short of options, you can always use the January transfer window as an opportunity to re-assess the needs of the squad and potentially plug a few gaps that may be appearing. You could also use the January transfer window as an opportunity to get a head-start on replacing some players who are seemingly heading for the exit in the upcoming summer window.

With that in mind I would suggest that we definitely need to strengthen in January for a number of different reasons. While we have had a more than excellent start to the season, one could suggest that we have remained rather fortunate with regards injuries and suspensions – with the likes of Coloccini being adequately replaced by Williamson (or M’biwa as it would now appear) and the likes of Tiote, Cabaye and Remy staying largely free from any long-term injuries this season. If this continues for the whole season, all well and good, however, what are our contingency plans if and when we do suffer from injuries and suspensions?

Some of our fringe players have stepped up to the mark excellently this season – namely Mike Williamson and Shola Ameobi. The question remains, is this a signal of sustained improved performances from these two, or are they temporarily upping their performances? Either way, neither are really good enough to be first team options in the long run and given how Remy will be leaving the club in the summer, as well as the likely departure of our captain Coloccini, do we have faith in these two to fill their shoes?

It must also be noted that Shola Ameobi’s contract runs out in the summer of 2014, and I for one would be very surprised if it is renewed. So adding to the departure of our loan signing Loic Remy, club stalwart Shola Ameobi could be likely heading for the exit, leaving Papiss Cisse as our only recognised striker at the club. Looking at his recent performances, and his abject performances last season, calling Cisse a ‘striker’ may be using the term loosely.

So we are looking short of options up front, and will be faced with a need for a centre half in the summer. Will the club take a forward step and make the requisite signings in January which will not only replace these departing players, but also provide us with added options in order to continue our fine start to the season which could ultimately yield a European place?

I haven’t even begun to discuss the elephant in the room – Yohan Cabaye. Cabaye’s departure from the club seems imminent. Having not secured a move away from the club in the summer, it looks likely that following his involvement in the World Cup, wor Yohan will be moving on to pastures new, and who could blame him? Unfortunately, I do not think that any replacement will be signed for him either in the January window or the summer window. Cabaye’s replacement is currently making do with a place on the bench right now and has been one of our top performers when he actually gets on to the field. Vurnon Anita is an excellent little footballer, and I feel he will slot straight into the midfield when Cabaye does eventually leave.

It is all well and good discussing the hypothetical need for signings. In fact, these are very real and pressing concerns about our practical need for signings. One or two injuries, especially to key players, could see our fine start to the season falter away into a disappointing mid-table finish. So assuming that many can agree that these signings are necessary, will we then take the added step of making these signings? Our transfer history under Ashley shows that he does not make signings unless they are absolutely necessary, and even when they are necessary, he will gamble and take a chance if it means saving him some readies.

Our fine start to the season could possibly be a reason for NOT strengthening in January as Mike could take a look at the table and see us as being a mere 14 points away from safety and could make the decision to take his chances that this team will secure 14 points between now and the end of the season and thus secure of Premier League status for another year.

In the same breath, he could make a few bargain bucket signings by bringing in 1 or 2 players who have 6 months left on their contracts thus getting them for a nominal fee – much like Sissoko and Gouffran last January. While this would be better than nothing, I do not think this is a sustainable transfer model. Whilst Sissoko and Gouffran have both proven themselves to be very capable players, someone like Bafetimbi Gomis would not be a welcome signing, rather he would be a signing for the sake of one.

Ashley could also surprise us all, sign an upgrade for Mike Williamson, sign an upgrade for Shola Ameobi, buy an additional striker that we have always needed since the sale of Demba Ba and maybe even secure an exciting young player for the future. All with the attempt to build on our fine start to the season to push us towards the higher echelons of the league where we belong.  However, I will not be holding my breath.

So to come full circle – do we really need signings in January? Most definitely. Will we get them? I really do not know.

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6 comments

  1. I love how you keep on referring to the fact that Williamson isn’t good enough to do a job for us but in the last 30 games for which we’ve had a clean sheet, Willo has played 25 of them, be that with Colo or M’biwa or Taylor, the facts arem we have conceeded less with him, than we have without him, so maybe you shoudl start looking at other ie Colo or Saylor to be your scape goat from now on!!

    As for your article, it obvious we need strengthening in the transfer window, it’s who we’ll get in is the dilema, I personally think Cisse should be strippof the No9 shirt & offer that to remy as an incentive, plus 80k/wk wages to stay, he’ll probably get more elsewhere but at least we should be trying to keep him, unlike what we did with Ba, who was gonna leave any way, as he lost his position to Cisse, what a mess that turned out to be…

    As for Cabaye, who knows, he wants to play CL footy, what if we’re able to secure that, will he stay or go, thats a big question, he’ll look crap if he leaves after we secure CL footy, so maybe there’s a chance, a very small chance we mayeb able to keep him but as you quite rightly said, Anita is a perfect replacement for him & Marv is sitting in the wings waiting to get back in the team also, someone who rarely gets mentioned.

    As for departures, Strola will get an extra year imo, Obertan will be sold & that’ll be the lot!!

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    1. Williamson’s statistics are impressive, I just think we can get a defender of better quality to do that job. He’s an honest hard working player and I am not knocking him, but at times he can be clumsy, poor at reading the game and too hands on in the penalty box. He is a decent option, but we are talking about first team players here. Willo is not good enough to be a 1st teamer for a side looking to push top 6.

      The point of my article was to demonstrate how obvious it is that we need strengthening and to sit that alongside the question of whether or not we will strengthen. While it may be obvious we need to sign some players, it is not obvious that Ashley will do just that.

      As far as I can see it, Marv has no future at NUFC. Obertan is getting in the squad before him, so we can forget about him in my opinion.

      I do not want Shola to get a new contract. Yes he has performed well in the last few games but keeping him in the squad only serves to show the lack of ambition of Mike Ashley. We need better than Shola.

      I do not think we will sell players in January, but I do think quite a few will be out in the summer.

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  2. <<<<<<<<<<< thinks we will sign players in january but dont expect any summer signings meself,also thinks our bunniness will be done in january every year from now on

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  3. It gets well documented about January being expensive, I feel it depends upon how you use it, last January we got Sissoko and Gouffran (amongst others) for a total around the £3m mark, roughly Sissoko must be a £10m player with Gouffran £7m and possibly rising, that’s good business, yes both were coming to the end of their contracts which is how we got them so cheap, but what is stopping us from doing that again, look at some of the players who will be out of contract in the summer
    Jérémy Ménez
    Blaise Matuidi
    Bafetimbi Gomis
    Guillermo Ochoa
    Julien Féret
    Brice Dja Djedje
    Xabi Alonso
    Victor Valdés
    Raúl García
    Martín Montoya
    Marc Bartra
    Mateo Musacchio
    Patrick Ebert
    Robert Lewandowski
    Diego
    Mame Diouf
    Sebastian Rode
    Aaron Hunt
    Didier Ya Konan
    Julian Schuster
    Fabian Johnson
    Robert Schneider
    Ola Toivonen
    Wout Brama
    Roberto Rosales
    Renato Ibarra
    Maarten Martens

    That’s quite a list, I’m sure that we could could negotiate 1 or 2 decent deals for some of those as we did for Sissoko and Gouffran last season.

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