January is going to be a crucial month for Newcastle United. It will be the transfer window that determines whether or not manager Rafa Benitez stays or goes at the end of the season. It could even potentially determine the safety of the club in the Premier League if Newcastle fail to get many more points after the 1-0 victory over Watford this past weekend.
Some are arguing that there are those who won’t even want to touch the club and come play for it in January. They’re not completely wrong but I think that there is still a lot of reason that could draw people here, but I’ll give you a hint: loyalty isn’t one of them.
This January is going to be a window where players are purchased simply to avoid relegation. Nothing more. They will likely use the next half of the season as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, much like Andros Townsend did when he was signed from Tottenham. Of course, bigger and better doesn’t always end that way, and he’s stuck in mediocrity with Crystal Palace.
So don’t be surprised when we sign some pretty decent players for low prices. They will end up being sold for a profit down the line in the summer transfer window, and they won’t remain Newcastle United players for long. We may get some great bargain deals out of it and some may decide to remain, but if the club gets relegated which is a serious possibility, we cannot expect players to remain. Relegation clauses will be implemented galore in January because that will be the only way to attract any sort of talent to the club.
This can also be avoided, but Rafa will need to string together multiple wins to get the club clear of the relegation zone before players start looking at the club as a serious option. The issue is that the club won’t get any real quality unless they’re under threat of relegation, because that is the only time that Mike Ashley will open up his wallet. If the team manages to get clear of the relegation zone, you can expect Ashley to only slightly open up his wallet to appease Rafa with some budget signings, which will only result with his inevitable departure following the end of the season.
Expect this January to feel like deja vu. We’ve been down this road before, and I expect it will be a decent window, but only one of players looking to use the club as a stepping stone to proving their Premier League ability, not as a genuine attempt to stay with the club.