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If there is one Premier League club right now who know about finding value for money, then it’s Newcastle United. Boss Rafa Benitez has been pleading for more money from owner Mike Ashley ever since his arrival, though those pleas have for the most part fallen on deaf ears.
Gone are the days of Newcastle being big spenders and the “smaller” teams having to live on a budget; Huddersfield Town, for example, splashing the cash during the summer while Newcastle fans were left frustrated at the lack of transfer activity.
Newcastle have been relegated, promoted and have seen everything in between over last year and a half and during those times, they have managed to bag a few players who have outdone themselves in their contributions to the club. Here are three such names:
The Spanish under-21 international has been a real find this season, initially joining on loan from the German giants and instantly making an impression on the Newcastle fans with his pre-season performances.
He has been influential in the Premier League, looking classy and full of movement and his absence through a back injury of late has made a huge negative difference to the side. Having exercised their right to sign him on a permanent deal, the £6.5million fee forked out by NUFC for Merino looks like a real snip and the biggest problem they are likely to have in the next year or so is keeping hold of him.
This was a real steal. The defensive midfielder was rock solid in the Championship and made a vital contribution to Newcastle’s promotion season, making his paltry fee worth it for that campaign alone.
The fact that he remains under contract to the club until 2021 and is looking very comfortable in the Premier League is all gravy for the club. Hayden is likely to be a top league fixture for many years to come and should he move again, it will be for ten times what Newcastle paid for him.
Magic Matt, as he is known among the fans, was another player without whom Newcastle would not have been promoted last season. Too good for the Championship, Newcastle knew the £12million was a fair one and that he would be key to the club’s short-term success and it proved so.
His ability has shone through this season in the Premier League too, with his final ball being about as good as it gets in the division. So even though he lacks that little bit of flair you may find from the most expensive players in the league, the fee that Newcastle paid for him is looking ridiculous now.