Why Mike Ashley MUST spend big on transfers in January to save Newcastle

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez

Mike Ashley hasn’t been to too many Newcastle United games this year.

But the club’s owner was at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

And the billionaire left the stadium with a smile on his face, having seen Steve McClaren’s side win 2-1.

A week earlier, the same team had beaten Liverpool 2-0.

Newcastle are 15th in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s home game against basement club Aston Villa, and two points clear of the relegation zone.

Remarkably, the club is a point better off than champions Chelsea, but that’s another story.

Maybe Ashley thinks everything is OK now.

And maybe he thinks the club doesn’t have to spend in next month’s transfer window.

But it’s not. And the club does.

Those two results, memorable as they were, have changed little in themselves. United remain in trouble, and there’s still a pressing need for more investment.

The £50million or so spent in the summer on five players without Premier League experience barely touched the sides after years of under-investment.

Head coach Steve McClaren needs more players. And he needs better players. And those who don’t have a future at St James’s Park need to be moved on, sooner rather than later.

There can be no complacency between now and January 1, whatever the results between now and then.

McClaren talked about the importance of the next three transfer windows when he was appointed in June.

However, the 54-year-old has been a little bit more reluctant to discuss transfers of late.

Let’s hope United aren’t so reluctant when it comes to spending in the New Year.

That said, what happened at White Hart Lane – and seven days earlier at St James’s Park – was heartening.

McClaren’s side had been beaten 5-1 by Crystal Palace on their last visit to London.

When Newcastle went behind at Selhurst Park, there was no way back for them. Things just went from bad to worse in SE25.

And another unravelling was feared when Eric Dier put Tottenham ahead in N17 late in the first half.

The players, however, had something to say in a previously-silent dressing room at the break.

United’s second-half performance spoke volumes, as did the celebration for Ayoze Perez’s winning goal. The team was united in more than just name.

The team had out-run, out-fought and out-thought Tottenham for 45 minutes. They hadn’t settled for a point after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 74th-minute equaliser.

But let’s not forget Newcastle need another 20-odd points to be safe.