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The equal measure of frustration and an air of inevitability reins on Tyneside right now as fans once again see almost half of the transfer window come and go without significant new flesh arriving at St. James’ Park. Why is it then that Newcastle United are incapable of getting deals done quickly in the transfer market?
The answer lies in the hierarchy. Manager Rafael Benitez puts pressure, as he has in the last three windows now, by telling the fans and the public he knows who he wants and that deals can be done, but that doesn’t mean that they will be sanctioned by the bureaucrats.
The way Mike Ashley and his acolytes have run this football club is nothing short of scandalous. Going into the first week of the January transfer window, Rafa Benitez revealed he didn’t even truly know his budget.
Club director Lee Charnley is nothing more than a shill for Ashley and can’t currently sanction any deals himself while takeover talks are still going on. Mike Ashley has been out of the country until this week and so nothing was ever going to happen until now, though any deals will still be limited.
Charnley is required to seek permission from London to complete deals at NUFC, one of the many reasons Newcastle fans are progressively angry these days.
Benitez, as he has in the past, has done all the donkey work – transferred a long list to a short list, sorted out prices and wages, listed who his preferred new players would be and has only listed those who are willing to come to Newcastle.
So, deals to bring new players to Newcastle are all done but no paperwork means no deal and that paperwork can’t be done without Ashley’s say so.
There may yet be no deals at all at Newcastle, not permanent ones anyway. There is a strong feeling around the club that Newcastle will not go down as long as Rafa Benitez is at the helm, given the standard of the bottom half of this league this year. So the Ashley attitude is “why spend money?”
His feeling on the subject is no doubt exacerbated by the fact that he is trying to sell the club and as such doesn’t want to put any more money into it.
He is, of course, playing with fire by using this rationale, as Newcastle’s failure to stay up in the Premier League would mean him having a non-saleable asset, at least not at the sort of money he wants anyway. Newcastle is united, perhaps the only genuine “United” in the Premier League in fact, but Newcastle United Limited is run anonymously from London and as long as that continues, it will not function well enough as a top level club.