First, the new board has been maintaining the same approach for months now when it comes to the club prospects in the transfer market: they aren’t here loaded with petrodollars and with their pockets open to spending massive amounts of money on middling players. While it went a little bit out of hand back in January (read: Wood, Chris) that was mostly because of the incredibly pressing needs of the team to avoid relegation at all costs, literally. That worst-case scenario has already been dodged for the good of everybody, so even if some players like Wood end being a little bit of a sunk cost, well, it was worth it in the grand scheme of things.
Second, the media and even official agents' narrative has always been and will always be the same: Newcastle want this, Newcastle are chasing that, and player X has been gladly offered to Newcastle. You can believe five percent of what you heard out there these days, but one thing you can be sure of: with no players leaving the club, no players will come in. As simple as that, even more factoring in the fact that while the board won’t be spending hundreds and hundreds of millions on the first player they can come up with, they will still aim at landing interesting—and by extension, expensive—enough players to raise the level of the team.
So Howe, after avoiding the issue for most of the past weeks when asked about in-and-out deals to come, well, finally gave a substantial answer to clear some doubts floating in the air.
After the game against Manchester City—a 5-0 hammering defeat by the Sky Blue—Howe finally enlightened us all with some marvelous quotes, reported by The Chronicle.
“I think every summer I’ve been in management, I’ve had to make difficult decisions at the end of the season”
Selling players, you mean!?
“Players that you love and have a great relationship with, sometimes have to leave for the benefit of the team.“
Like, maybe Dwight Gayle, Javi Manquillo, or even Jamal Lewis or Fede Fernandez or Karl Darlow!?
“This season will be no different. I’m sure there’ll be players that will move on, who have represented the club in a brilliant way. Those decisions can wait until the end of the season.”
So we’re right, you say!?
“For me now, it’s about making judgements and assessments on everybody I’m working with. The training ground is a hugely important place for me, so I’m making judgements there, and then of course on days like today, I’m making judgements on players’ futures, based on what I see. I think that’s natural.”
Anyway, you know what I’m trying to say, and what Howe is trying to explain without saying too much because this is serious business. All of the players I named above are easy to see moving on from their current roles with Newcastle to other places where they will most probably have better chances at playing at a level on par with their talents.
Fernandez, Ciaran Clark, Lewis, Gayle, Mark Gillespie, even Almirón, Hayden, Darlow, or the very controversial Allan Saint-Maximin could very well leave the Toon if the right offers arrive at some point throughout the summer.
This, at least to me, is as important as all of the bullshit getting thrown around regarding signings. Of course, those sell more papers and are much tastier food for click-baiting. But first things first, and the first order of business in the Black and White headquarters must be dealing with the current squad, trimming it, and opening room for whoever ends coming to Tyneside.
And now, we’ve gotten official word the work is being put on in the shadows. Finally.