The Magpies signed just one player during the summer window with up to £25million, paid in instalments, for the permanent signing of Willock from Arsenal.
Steve Bruce shifted the likes of Andy Carroll, Yoshinori Muto, Christian Atsu, Henri Saivet and Florian Lejeune off the wage bill but that appeared to do very little for his recruitment hopes.
The United head coach was said to be left annoyed after a late loan swoop for Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury was refused – and United fans share that feeling.
In our end of transfer window survey, we asked Gazette readers how they rate Newcastle’s business this summer, and 82.9% described it as “very poor".
Indeed, only 4.6% were “content”, while a further 12.5% labelled it “poor”.
However, while 44.4% of readers pointed the blame at owner Mike Ashley for the club’s failure in the transfer market, 50.5% believe Lee Charnley and Bruce should also take shared responsibility alongside Ashley.
In an official statement on Friday, Newcastle said “Covid-19 had a considerable impact on the club’s finances” and therefore reduced the cash to spend.
The club also argued "all parties have long been aware of the budgetary parameters” amid speculation of Bruce’s frustration over the lack of signings.
Meanwhile, United confirmed they “acknowledged the need to make an exception” by paying for Willock in instalments but are “beyond delighted to have secured him”.
Indeed, 75.5% of readers were happy to see Willock return to St James’s Park following his previous loan spell of eight goals in 14 games.
We asked readers if paying £25m for the former England under-21s international too much – 64.8% said no and 35.2% said yes.
However, here comes the interesting part.
Knowing the budget restrictions, should Bruce have spent the money available on multiple players, rather than on Willock alone?
Well, our question brought a split response with 51.4% saying yes and 48.6% answering no.
Instead, 39.4% thought the defence needed prioritising, with 28.2% of readers believing both the midfield and attack needed further strengthening.