Since arriving at St. James Park in the summer, Steve McClaren has overseen Newcastle United splashing the cash on nearly £80 million worth of players. However, despite outspending the whole of the Bundesliga in January, there is still a real threat of relegation for the Magpies, and they have proved that splashing the cash isn’t the way to keep them up.
On Saturday, Newcastle dropped into the relegation zone on goal difference after a woeful display at Chelsea saw them beaten 5-1. Of the 11 who started the game, four of them were playing in their first season at the club, with a further two on the bench. Apart from Andros Townsend’s late consolation strike, none of them had any positive effect on the game.
For many years, Newcastle and Mike Ashley have been very careful with their spending, and have only gone out and bought players once others have been sold. They also seem to have an obsession with buying players from France, with Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy among their more successful acquisitions.
However in recent years, the players bought from France have been much less successful. In the last two summers their most expensive buys have been Remy Cabella and Florian Thauvin, both of whom are now on loan at Marseille after failing to produce the goods for the Magpies.
At Stamford Bridge on Saturday, there appeared to be a complete lack of togetherness amongst the players. There were a lot of new players in the side, but that is no excuse for some of the terrible passing and appearance that they were a bunch of strangers, and they are certainly in a relegation battle.
In January, Newcastle spent £12 million to bring Jonjo Shelvey to the club from Swansea, and he was seen as a player who could play a massive role in their fight against relegation. However he was the club’s saviour for about five minutes, and he was at fault for Chelsea’s third goal at the weekend, as one of a series of dreadful passes set the Blues away to score.
If Newcastle are to stay up, they have a lot of work to do and they need their new players to gel quickly. Even if they do stay up, they need to have a serious look at their transfer policy.