Neil Moxley, who writes for the Mirror online (a preferred media partner of Newcastle United) has claimed that Mike Ashley has this week turned back the tide on boardroom dealings. Apparently, the owner has taken it upon himself to emphasise the importance of signing younger players in order to sell them on at a profit in the future.
This would of course mean that Chief scout, Graham Carr, will once again be given a direct role when it comes to bringing players into the club.
Ashley has rarely permitted the signing of players over the age of 27 which is simply down to the fact that they do not possess any sort of sell on value. Of course, exceptions have been made here and there. The name of Shefki Kuqi springs to mind. Predominantly though, the focus has clearly been on young talent who are deemed to be “promising”. The names Florian Thauvin and Remy Cabella spring to mind in this case.
During the summer of 2016 though, with Rafa Benitez taking charge, it seemed as though the Spaniard had been given a clean slate and allowed to do things his way. Players like Daryl Murphy (33) and Jesus Gamez (31) were signed and Mo Diame (29) was brought in at low cost via his £4.5 million release clause. All others were younger, all below 27 in fact.
It is quite ironic, with the release of this article coming at a time when 33 year old Murphy broke Newcastle United out of jail against Brentford at Griffin Park.
It does make you wonder however, if the only reason for these being brought in was due to the low fees they were available for. If Benitez wished to sign 29 year old for £10 million, what would be the answer?
On Sunday, the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder updated fans, stating that Benitez is still in fact in total control of transfers and that this should not cause any panic within the fanbase. Carr does still have an input when it comes to first team recruitment, but United have already invested in their scouting department by bringing in a new European scout, Paul Baker.
The club are said to be focusing more heavily on young players that will fit into the developmental system, with two new faces apparently on their way (believed to be Tyrique Bartlett and Juanito).
In May, upon agreeing to stay on as manager of Newcastle, Benitez was quoting in saying- “I will take responsibility (of transfers) if I have to take responsibility.”
It is certainly an interesting topic of discussion and has raised many eyebrows this week, and with Rafa Benitez’s next press conference scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon, (ahead of the F.A Cup replay against Birmingham) it is certain that these questions will be presented to him.