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Analysis: Why the long wait for a signing at Newcastle?

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley
Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

No news can be good news at Newcastle United.

But not this summer.

Normally, all eyes are on the exit door at St James’s Park.

No news can mean no one is being sold.

The club is known for selling its best players – Andy Carroll and Yohan Cabaye to name but two – and bringing in cheaper replacements from the continent.

Newcastle’s trading was profitable off the field – the club had £34.1million in the bank a year ago – but less profitable on the pitch. It left the club with a squad ill-equipped for the rigours of a Premier League campaign.

United survived last season, but only just, after a forgettable few months, but not before owner Mike Ashley pledged to end austerity at St James’s Park and “invest” in the playing staff.

Many supporters were sceptical. And understandably so. Sluggish season-ticket renewals this summer underlined this sentiment.

Six weeks later, not one player has walked through the door at St James’s Park, and supporters, again understandably, are getting anxious. No news is bad news.

Admittedly, the transfer window has only been open two days, but new head coach Steve McClaren would like one or more players to sign in time for the club’s three-game tour of the USA.

A number of Newcastle’s targets are known. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers), Florian Thauvin (Qlympique Marseille) and Bas Dost (Wolfsburg) are high up the wanted list.

Austin, Thauvin and Dost will all command fees of upwards of £10million. And this, it seems, is part of the problem.

United have moved into a different stratum of the transfer market, one which is proving harder to crack.

Whatever urgency there is on Tyneside, it’s not always felt by the selling clubs, some of which are in no hurry to do business – or have no need to do business.

QPR, however, will sell Austin, but his future won’t be decided before he returns from his honeymoon.

So the wait goes on.

Yesterday, the club sent fans an email from McClaren comfirming his backroom team and appealing for patience as the club attempts to sigh the “right” players.

However, patience among supporters used to hearing bad news has worn thin on Tyneside over the past few years.