Today the January transfer window slammed shut, a window that for many a year under Ashley has been about as enjoyable as a bricked-up one with equally as nice a view. Yes, we have had some hits in windows gone by – notably the last one having serious impact was Martin Dubravka back in January 2018, and what a signing he has been!

Once again we were “Loan rangers” in this window (what else is new?) as ironically a man who made his fortune in retail seemingly loathes spending any money in the January sales. As always in transfer windows, a couple of names often get bandied about so much that you go for the “No smoke without fire” rule. The names of Hamza Choudhury from Leicester and Joe Willock from Arsenal were certainly smoking today.

There were a few others that cropped up out of nowhere, my personal favourite being that of the gifted little Glaswegian Billy Gilmour (what a player he is!) but Chelsea were as quick to say he was going nowhere as they are to bin a manager. So, that was the rumoured incomings, but it wouldn’t be Newcastle United  without outgoings would it?

Despite a paper-thin squad, as usual under Ashley, we saw De Andre Yedlin leave Tyneside for Galatasaray. Now Yeds hasn’t always been every mag’s cup of tea I know, but, to be fair to him, he’s been a loyal servant to the club and, when we’ve needed him, he’s been there. Good luck to him! Other names rumoured to leave were Matt Ritchie & both Longstaffs, Mr Magic Hat seemingly wanting to see out his remaining ragey years in the game back on the south coast. As for the lads, it seems that it’s a case of Matty needing to play regularly to develop (despite offering more than Jonjo), and Sean lookinh like he may have fallen out with the Baron of Bacon (who could blame him, eh?). As the window closed all three remained in the black and white.

As another relativity uneventful January window comes to a close, let’s assess where we are squadwise. We are still short at left back. Ritchie clearly doesn’t want to be here so if he needs to fill in for Lewis let’s hope he gives his usual effort levels. We’re a right back short, leaving only the dependable Manquillo & distinctly average Kraft to call upon when needed, or a shoehorned Jacob Murphy. Both of these positions should’ve been addressed clearly by our management set-up.

We also didn’t add any further quality to a heavily Wilson-reliant strike force (pray to whoever you pray to that lad doesn’t get injured) with Carroll being a shell of the beast he used to be, Joelinton being well groomed… but still shite, and Gayle having the look of a man who doesn’t want to be here anymore. I mean would you? Seeing Joelinton getting a game ahead of you!

It’s not all bad news though. We did bring in a player, albeit leaving it right up until the last minute to announce it in peak shithouse Nufc fashion, and it was a player in a key position for us. A position we’ve been screaming out for a long time, a genuine box to box midfielder. Someone with legs and energy, someone who can join attacks and sniff out a few goals to take some of the huge weight of expectation off Callum Wilson. That player turned out to be Joe Willock from Arsenal. An impressive young 22 year old whose stats are a more than decent 78 apps and 11 goals, a vastly better set of opta stats than our current midfielders. If he’s half as good as the other Arsenal kids in Smith-Rowe & Saka who ripped us apart at the Emirates twice then we’ll have a real player on our hands.

Did we have a good window? Not really! But then again what’s new under Ashley right? Choudhury fell away due to Leicester having injury worries, and we couldn’t bring in the versatile Maitland-Niles due to the fact you can’t have two loan players from the same side. That means we add Willock into what we have and batten down the hatches. Let’s just hope that this may be the last Mike Ashley January transfer window we have to suffer through, and next season we could once again look forward to being ambitious and actually buying players instead.

CHRIS CURRIE – @wig82