Finally, some recruitment news out of Newcastle United. However, it wasnt the news most expected, as Florian Lejeune still is not on Tyneside.
In a press release on Saturday, Newcastle United announced that Steve Nickson will be taking over as the club’s head of recruitment.
So who is this new recruiter of talent? Will he interfere with Rafael Benitez’s plans at the club?
Nickson has previously been a U21 scout at Newcastle United, and been relatively successful. According to the Chronicle, Nickson was instrumental in the signing of three fan favorites: Kevin Mbabu (Servette), Rolando Aarons (Bristol City), and Ayoze Perez (Tenerife), who famously was “stolen” away from clubs such as Barcelona and FC Porto.
Although these are just a handful of signings worth noting, there are good takeaways from them. All three players have succeeded at the first team level, albeit in small flashes for Mbabu due to competition and Aarons due to injury. Another positive sign is that Nickson was able to find talent across three countries: Spain, England and Switzerland. A big knock on Graham Carr was that he only knew how to recruit in France, and once other Premier League clubs caught on to his ways, he could never effectively recover.
Now that Nickson is at the top recruitment position of the club, he should have ample resources to scout even deeper into the countries he knows well. He should also have more resources in terms of budget, so if he did miss out on players due to a U21 budget, he won’t have that issue now.
This is more good news for the future of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United. Graham Carr, the squeaky wheel on the recruitment cart, is gone, leaving a clear path for Benitez to bring in the players of his choice. The appointment of Steve Nickson should give Benitez a man he trusts if and when he speaks directly to Ashley, something that seemed to be an issue with Carr.
It will be interesting to see if the announcement of Steve Nickson brings any more success to Newcastle’s summer recruitment. So far, there have been plenty of rumblings, but no deals outside of Christian Atsu have been completed and supporters are getting worried. Now that Benitez has his staff in order, expect some players to cross the line and Newcastle United’s 2017 Starting XI to take shape.