Window woes

Posted by Marc Duffy

Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty ImagesA lack of summer signings for Alan Pardew's squad already have Newcastle fans worrying about their Premier League status.

With only three days to go until Newcastle United's Premier League opener at Manchester City, the lack of incoming transfer activity on Tyneside is alarming.

Newcastle were ravaged by injury last season and a squad light on quality in depth battled against relegation until May -- but despite this, the club have yet to sign any players on permanent deals. In fact, a thin squad has actually been trimmed down with the departures of James Perch, Danny Simpson and Steve Harper, as well as a host of the younger players out on loan including Adam Campbell -- a young forward who Alan Pardew recently claimed would be sticking around for first team involvement. This suggests to me that the club put last season's injury record down to the additional games thrown at them by participation in the Europa League. Worrying.

- Pardew wants 'fear factor' return

The appointment of big talking Joe Kinnear as Director of Football looks to have added absolutely nothing to the club. He has been in his job for a couple of months -- he burst onto the scene telling the world that he was now responsible for all transfer activity then he went off on holiday. Since returning, he has not managed to get a single signing 'over the line' (a favourite phrase of Newcastle United management). Loic Remy arrived on a season-long loan, but he was a long-term Newcastle target. Remy is also out injured for a month.

So once again it looks like Newcastle United will suffer another painful season because of their penny-pinching transfer policy. I'm well aware that they don't have the means to compete with the Manchester Citys of the world, but Newcastle are a football club with a billionaire owner, world top-20 revenue, a massive supporter base and an all-time high TV income in the coming season.

The apparent penny-pinching last season ended up costing Newcastle financially -- and it almost cost them their Premier League status. Matthieu Debuchy was expected to arrive last summer but a deal could not be struck because of agent fees. Sound familiar? Look up Bafetimbi Gomis for the same this summer. No one wants their club to be held to ransom by agents, but these aren't millions of pounds we are talking about.

As panic set in last season, Newcastle rushed out and signed Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko. It was almost not enough. It also cost them more than it should have -- Sissoko would have arrived in the summer on a free but an inflated fee was paid.

If Newcastle suddenly surprise us all and Kinnear delivers a player or three (don't hold your breath), then we will all be more relaxed, although there would be concerns over player integration in terms of fitness and learning the methods that Pardew likes to employ. In an ideal world a signing would enjoy a whole pre-season at a club before wearing their shirt in the Premier League -- much like Manchester City's signings will have. That won't be the view of some at Newcastle though -- they will just be pleased that they didn't have to pay a couple of months' worth of wages.

From the outside looking in, Newcastle United seem to me to be a club whose ambitions stretch no further than Premier League survival and the massive riches that go with it.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy - tweet me for some NUFC chat


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