People have in the past judged a club’s success in the transfer window by how many players they’ve brought in, but in austere times it appears that success can also come in the form of holding on to your current crop of stars.
Newcastle are one such example of a team who failed to make any serious forays into the transfer market, but count themselves lucky to have kept the likes of Ben Arfa, Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Krul and Tiote. There’s probably upwards of £60million worth of talent in that list and Pardew would certainly struggle to replace any of those players with stars of equal calibre.
The only problem with not spending is that a team doesn’t get that psychological lift that comes with bringing in new faces. Alan Pardew is an experienced and astute manager so will attempt to rally his troops into the new season by setting high targets.
Last season Newcastle finished unexpectedly in fifth place and they were vying for fourth right to the wire. Their success came as such a surprise due to their understated continental purchases mainly from the French and German leagues. Players like Cisse, Tiote and Ben Arfa were largely unknown quantities to the average football fan, but their subsequent success has shown that a good scouting network can be as valuable an asset as any costly addition to the club. Chief scout Graham Carr has risen to prominence in the football world due to his uncanny eye for a player, as other teams now try to emulate the Newcastle model.
Swansea have also demonstrated with the £2million signing of Michu – La Liga’s top scoring midfielder – that the foreign market is far cheaper than the comparative English one.
Newcastle could sneak a top four finish this season if all of their players hit form, and at around 12/1 they represent an attractive outside bet with the online casino or bookmaker. If you’re planning on being a bit more cautious with your cash though there’s always the option of a quick round of Texas Hold’em at Betfair. If you feel your poker face failing though don’t worry, you can always just bang a few quid in the online slots. The best thing is you can do this whilst monitoring the Toon’s progress on MOTD – play from your pocket on your mobile!