The winter transfer window ended rather peacefully and stagnant for the biggies of the Premier League. But somewhere in the deepest trenches of the Premier League table, a team cladding white and black hope desperately on their attempts at bringing newer talent into the club. Would they somehow manage to anchor themselves safely away from relegation, or would it prove to be yet another set of spoilt choices by the Newcastle United man, Steve McClaren?
Newcastle United found themselves lighter by another £30m after a £50m blowout in the summer. While the ‘improvements’ in the summer didn’t turn out oh-so-well for them, they stumbled onto relegation prospectives. On inspection, the reason for their failure was apparent:
- Lack of goal-scorers. (4th Lowest in the league)
- Weak defensive performance(3rd most highest goals against)
A major reason for the failure of the initial half of the season is due to poor management. The transition of the manager from Alan Pardew to Steve McClaren took way more time than it should have. Essentially, it severely cut down the time he could have to get his team acquainted with his style. A good pre-season is more than just a psychological advantage for the team. Some players were bought later on in the transfer window itself, leaving little or no time for the manager to judge the player’s capabilities.
The season did not go as well as they would expect. It was apparent that yet another spending spree is inevitable, if the team is to be saved. While many were expecting an addition to the defense, the club added 3 midfielders and a forward on loan. 12 million a piece on Townsend and Shelvey, alongside Saviet from Bordeaux and Doumbia being loaned out from Roma. The names do seem impactful. But is the plug in the defense still plugged?
Newcastle has had piss poor defending, and the defenders are not the only culprits. The midfield has often been amazingly open for the opponents.Neither of Colback, Anita or Tiote could really cement their position and get a firm constant run of form. Steve couldn’t translate his tactics on ground. The input in the form of Townsend and Shelvey has particularly been for re-enforcing the midfield. But for a £12 m tag on each of them, Newcastle have taken a huge gamble on either. While Townsend has hardly played over 60 mins of the game since the start of the season, Shelvey was unable to find a spot in the Swansea first team since September. Their experience in the Premier League may count as a plus, but the weights seem against Newcastle.
Henri Saviet could be a make or break buy. While with Townsend or Shelvey you can expect a certain amount of consistency, one can never expect the same from a player outside of the Premier League. Another addition to the French department of Newcastle, only time can tell how his talent at Bordeaux may translate to sheer physicality in the Premier League.
The striking role was a position of utter despair. Mitrovic, who was bought in the summer, was expected to take Newcastle back to their glory days. Unfortunately it is not so and he can’t cut off his bad days. Doumbia was a much required input to the team, and a right one at that. After having scored profusely in Russia before having a drought at Roma, he would be looking to win the lottery here with Newcastle too. He is the perfect kind of player for English football; needs- fast and physical. He has the agility and the strength to either blast a rocket or weave past defenders.
The club still got stumped on two targets which they had been looking out for since the start of the window-Berahino and Lacazzette. Unfortunately, the club couldn’t find a medium ground for a deal to be considered. Either of these would have been a much better addition to the team than Townsend or Shelvey, but then there’s that.
While one can only predict how the fortunes of the Magpies would be, the club could have done much better in improving their back line. That might end up being one of the sole reasons the club might just sink into their second relegation in 7 years.
Red Devil forever. Engineer by nature, Football by the heart. Sugar, Spice and a whole lotta tadka on the side.