Mike Ashley is a small-time, cheap, unambitious, pig-headed, clueless, stubborn fool

Mike Ashley has done a lot of things at Newcastle. Most of it inconceivable to a Newcastle fan. But his latest venture in making Rafa Benitez' time on Tyneside untenable tops the lot.

The question is why is he doing what he is doing? Why is he blatantly refusing to support him and not making every effort to keep him here for years to come?
Some say it's perhaps there is a possible sale of the club in the offing so for him to spend any money isn't in his interest, nor is the future of the club. This is wide of the mark IMO. 
Others say it's because he refuses to allow a manager with one year left on his contract to spend money on players and then leave at the end of the year, which would then leave a scenario of a new manager wanting his own players. This is closer to the mark IMO.
But even this doesn't really make sense as the ONLY way Rafa would sign a new deal is if the club back him. Not the other way round that Ashley wants it. If you sign a deal, then we will s…

NUFC Transfer Policy Has One Major Flaw

It doesn't look like NUFC will be going in for Debuchy again, even if Lille win or lose there Champions League qualifier this eve. Well certainly not with anything they haven't already gone in with. Ashley and Llambias value Mathieu Debuchy at £5million and no more. They come to this valuation based on his age and what the potential sell-on value would be. From a business point of view a potential sell-on value stance towards players bought for a significant amount of money, makes sense and on the whole is a very strong policy to have financially when it comes to transfers. I like it. The days of spending vast's amounts of transfer money on a player who end's up a flop and we end up selling for a fraction of the price are over. No longer will an Albert Luque happen or a Michael Owen bleed us dry. 
However, there is one major flaw that seem's completely missed on Ash and Derek. Not all player's we sign will or will even need to be sold on, so what difference does it make? For example, Fabricio Coloccini signed for us for £10million and he will (hopefully) end his career on Tyneside in a few years. He has been a glorified success. We will recoup none of the £10million fee shipped out for him, but who cares? The money we have made from successful Premier League finishes makes up for that. Not to mention the fact we have had a brilliant captain for 5 years. Debuchy fit's into this example for me. Why would we need to sell on Debuchy? For a fee of £8million, we would have a very good player that will improve the team significantly and that will bring it's own financial rewards. This (for now) failure of not signing Debuchy is proof that this unshakable sell-on strategy is not always correct in the world of football. Football is a business yes, but only second behind a sport. 

If we were to sign Debuchy tomorrow he would improve our team. No question. With an improved team comes improve results. With improved results comes more financial income from success. That's the theory. Now buying players meaning a team will definitely have better results isn't an exact science, by any means. So teams need to be careful at what they spend their hard earned dosh on. Which is why NUFC have this sell on policy in the first place. For example, if Anita doesn't turn out to be as good as we all hope than the club will look to sell him on for at least the money they paid for him at around £6million. He is 23 as it stands and we should be able to recoup our money no matter what, as players tend to peak in their mid-twenties. However, If he is successful on Tyneside, then that's when the sell-on policy really comes into it's own as we would sell him on, if the right offer came in, for a significant profit. The strategy is aimed at bringing in players at no older than 26 and for as smaller fee as possible, as to the estimated potential value. So Debuchy at 27 for a fee of anything above the estimated £5million - doesn't fall into this strategy. Unfortunately for us fans.

What's flawed with the above, if you take the fact Debuchy signing for us would make us a better team as a given, is if you were to ask most football fan's, managers, journos alike how much do you think Debuchy is worth? An average fee of around £8mil will probably be the answer. Which I reckon is pretty spot on, and so do Lille. He is a quality right back, who is 27 years old, he plays in a good league but not a top league for a good team but not the top team and so a good fee of around 10million Euros (£8mil) is about right. Lille can't demand any more than that and expect to sell him...but they aren't. They are being totally reasonable. It's NUFC who are being unreasonable.

What seems clear is NUFC will not offer more than £5million for Mattieu Debuchy. Really? From a football point of view that is laughable. Which I am sure the Lille chairman did when he read the fax/email from NUFC with their 'offer'. From a purely business point of view though, it does make sense from Newcastle's end. Debuchy is 27 and if NUFC were to sell him on at some point in the future they could hardly demand a fee of £8mil, or its very unlikely. £5mil is about right. 

However, like I touched on before. Why would we need to sell on Debuchy? Why can't we sign him and have a quality defender who will hopefully end his career on Tyneside after a successful spell. Just like Captain Colo. Surely when a player like the quality of Debuchy comes along and says quite blatantly, 'I want to sign for Newcastle' we need to make exceptions to the rule. This is a player who has been linked with Real Madrid this morning as well as Inter Milan and Chelsea. He is quality. He is one of the top full back's in Europe. He want's to sign for Newcastle Utd? Ahead of Madrid? Ahead of Milan? He's available for £8million? Sign him up! From a football point of view you can see how this is a no-brainer. Unfortunately from this seemingly set in stone transfer policy we have. It doesn't look like it's going to happen. Which is absolutely criminal.

I hope I am writing all of this in vain come Friday night. I hope either NUFC have improved there offer for Debuchy and he becomes a NUFC player or for some reason Lille decide to sell him on the cheap after all. I am not very hopeful though to be honest. It looks dead in the water. A deal that to any football person seems to be the most obvious, no brainer, nothing to think about transfer you could possibly imagine for a club like ours...isn't going to happen. Like I say. Criminal.

There has to be exceptions to any rule. Even in business.


  1. Good point well argued - totally agree. PS learn when to use 'their' instead of 'there' & take the apostrophe out of fan's when using the plural; then it would be a very good article.

    1. I'm usually sound on my theirs and theres...ha

  2. couldn't be more true its a shame you can not contact the toon and tell them this personally!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Spot on reasoning - the only thing probably not at the level it should be in your article is risk. If you think of all the players bought before the relegation, Colo was just one of a number who large fees were paid for. He seems to be an exception in that he is a fantastic player who stayed when all around were jumping ship and has now become a toon legend with his own song to boot. However, I agree that what we've seen of Debuchy looks extreme quality at a decent fee of 10m Euros. There are precedents that say you shouldn't buy players based solely on international tournaments and I'm assuming the risk is thought to be too great by the bosses that he wouldn't be as good as expected. I'd love them to take a chance and have him at Stade St James's (when are we getting of that ignorant SD.com Ashley?) along with a couple of other French fliers it would be great to watch.

  4. Whilst I agree with your argument for the most part, the other major flaw, is that if NUFC only pay what "they" consider the right price, they seem forever to be doomed to be searching the bargain bucket for players.

    As other clubs start to follow this pattern in these economically challenging times, this will become increasingly hard to do.

    I'd love a Ferrari, but I can see my local dealership giving me short thrift if I only offer up the funds for a Skoda.

    1. Also true that the fee NUFC have come up with for Debuchy, seems to be totally their own fee plucked out of the air. The footballing world knows that £7-£8mil isn't just his worth, but actually a bit of a bargain. To even try and negotiate on this is a tad unlikely, but to flat line make a take it or leave offer significantly less than this is unnecessary and plain daft.

  5. I think you make a very good point but I would say that when you make an offer it's basically made up of two elements - current value to the team + potential future value. Once a player is 28+ then that potential future value rapidly reduces, as you point out. So I would assume that the offer for Debuchy is based on value to the team and the club value that at around £5m.

    Personally I think that's fair enough. You don't see many full backs around the world going for anywhere close to £10m unless they're exceptional. Barcelona paid £11m for Jordi Alba and he had a great Euro 2012 as part of the best side in the world. Plus, dare I say it, at his age there'll be a bit of sell-on value there!

    Hopefully we'll still get Debuchy. £6-7m or thereabouts is probably his value.

  6. I think this deal is pretty straight forward. Newcastle don't see his worth to the club as £8m and I kind of agree. We don't necessarily need him. There isn't a gap in the team in his position where we need to spend £8m to rectify. It's as simple as that. Is it worth spending £8m to improve that area of the team? I don't think it is. 'Criminal'? Or good business sense?

    1. I'd disagree that we don't need him. Simmo is arguably the weak link in the team. He offers nothing going forward. What I didn't mention, is that if were to bring in Debuchy then we could offload Simpson for £3-£4m to help pay for it. So we wouldn't necessarily be spending that much on Debuchy in total anyway. So yea, criminal.

    2. Well it's objective either way. I really doubt anyone would pay £3-4m for Simpson when he's in the last year of his contract. I agree Simpson isn't as good as Debuchy but he is still decent enough for the level we are at and again it's not really an area we are desperate to strengthen. Factoring wages and agent fees in the deal could end up costing around £15m in total and that's a conservative estimate. So I can completely understand why Ashley would not be willing to sanction a deal for that much money.


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