Were we wrong about Mike Ashley?

Despite an initial period of zero activity in the transfer market, Newcastle United have surprised fans (and the rest of the footballing world) by signing two highly sought after footballers in less than two weeks – and it looks like Chancel Mbebma will soon be added to the list.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic became the third and fourth most expensive transfers in the history of Newcastle United and it looks like the spending won’t be stopping any time soon.

So does this mean that Mike Ashley has kept the promise he made on the final day of the season, just before his team narrowly avoided relegation? It would appear so.

There is no doubt that the team needed significant investment. But whereas numerous players have been bought in previous transfer windows, such as last year when NUFC secured the services of Cabella, Janmaat, Riviere, Colback, De Jong and Perez; the two recent signings made by Steve McClaren show real intent.

It’s been a long time since Newcastle United was regularly linked with big names and many feared that the reputation of the club had reached such a low point that any promising talent would be sure to look elsewhere before heading to Tyneside.

But the signing of Wijnaldum and Mitrovic, who was a target for several big clubs such including Chelsea, indicates that our reputation is still intact.

Would these rising stars join Newcastle ahead of bigger clubs if they genuinely didn’t believe that positive change was on the horizon? Sure, there are other factors to consider such as wages and contracts – but then these transfers would suggest that Mike Ashley has changed his strategy. Paying big fees for top quality AND offering competitive salary packages.

So were we wrong about Mike Ashley?

A post by one fan on a popular Facebook group dedicated to NUFC supporters made an interesting point…

We are all aware that Mike Ashley likes a gamble, the roulette table & the stock market are his preferred outlets apparently, but anyone else feel he just continued his gambling ways with us and it looks like it might have just paid off. Since it was announced 2 years or so back how insane the money was about to get in the Premier League, we invested a minimal amount and survived in the league while all the clubs around us spent multi millions to essentially just stay in the exact same position we are (league wise). And now we’ve saved all that cash we theoretically have better spending power than all but 5 or 6 teams because the prize money isnt massively different in terms of position finished (outside of the obvious Champs League places) so we’re generating in the same ball park or more money in most cases and we have the added bonus of the healthiest bank balance in the league (aside from Arsenal I think), so we can now afford to attempt make the push without bankrupting ourselves, or MA putting his own money in, into the higher echelons of the league.

Was Mike just biding his time, strengthening the club financially in order to be in a great position to make a strong club in the future? If so, perhaps now the ‘future’ has become the ‘present’.

Only time will tell. But it is genuinely refreshing to see the club heading in the right direction after so many disappointing seasons under the control of Mike Ashley.

Please let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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