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Another Depressing Transfer Window Comes to an End

Newcastle United failed to sign any players on deadline day, leaving Rafa Benitez to make do with the squad he has. Mike Ashley will never learn

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
Rafa Benitez's future has again been thrown into serious doubt.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As the clock struck 11 on Thursday night, Premier League clubs were working frantically to complete deals behind the scenes. By that time, the lights had gone out at Benton.

Lee Charnley is said to be in contact with Rafa Benitez almost everyday. He knew what his manager needed. He knew what was asked for. The preparatory work was all carried out by the Spaniard. A long and arduous process, which meant that he was unable to enjoy any sort of summer holiday.

Tammy Abraham should have been a Newcastle player in July. Benitez has personally visited the young Chelsea striker and reports stated that Abraham was already convinced. All that was left was a signature. Instead, when Newcastle visit the Liberty Stadium next week, Tammy will line up for the home side.

Willy Caballero is another one. Fair enough, perhaps the veteran goalkeeper simply wants to sit on the bench and pick up a pay cheque, but the bottom line is, Benitez wanted him and he did not get him.

Ruben Semedo, Eliaquim Mangala, Pepe Reina, Kenedy, Lucas Perez, even Matt Targett...the list goes on. All were targets, none were signed. It really is like Alan Pardew used to say. "We just couldn't get them over the line".

Yes, five new players did arrive in the midst of all of the frustration. A young winger from the Championship and a classy La Liga defender were the most expensive. £20 million was forked out on Norwich's Jacob Murphy and Eibar's Florian Lejeune. Neither of which have ever played in the Premier League.

A 21-year old Spanish midfielder arrived from Dortmund after playing only 9 times last season. Very much a rough diamond, but the same could be said about plenty of the current squad already.

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Mikel Merino
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Of the five, two have played in the English top flight before. The problem is, neither have done so with any sort of success. The signing of Javier Manquillo is bizarre in so many ways, whilst the capture of Joselu from Stoke City is also a massive gamble.

They will all be given a chance by the Geordie faithful, but none of them have time. In fact, the pressure is already on.

Truthfully, none of them will be filled with glee when they listen to their manager's comments over the course of the transfer window.

"I am signing players that I can, not players that I want".

The sound of a manager who's hands are very much tied behind his back.

In the opposite corner, you then have an owner telling the world that his fortune is "like wallpaper" and that he cannot compete with Manchester City, totally missing the fact that nobody has asked him to.

To make matters worse, for the last few weeks, all that supporters have been hearing is that players need to leave. Funds need to be generated. Wages need to be freed up.

Siem De Jong, Grant Hanley, Emmanuel Riviere, Tim Krul and Achraf Lazaar have all left Tyneside in the last week. Around £10 million in transfer/loan fees was raised. Approximately £170,000 a week saved.

The result? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Diddly squat.

So that begs the question, where did all that money go? What was the point?

Swansea City v Newcastle United - Premier League
Charnley and Ashley
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

I would no longer scoff at people who devise conspiracy theories. Maybe Mike Ashley is trying to get his money back on his investment. Maybe he has one eye on selling the football club. None of that can be ruled out.

However, the fact that none of what has happened is new or surprising is the most worrying. For too long now have Newcastle fans had to put up with stagnation. Just when the iron seems hot, there is no strike. Empty promises and false ambitions. Nothing about this is a real shock.

Bureaucracy has taken over a football club that once belonged to its wonderful following. The poison runs deep and Rafael Benitez will realise that now more than ever. If I could say anything to him, it would simply be that I am sorry. Our club is sick and you will never be allowed to cure it.

"This club cannot go anywhere under Mike Ashley. I promise you that".