A lot was said before this transfer window, that Newcastle would be looking to take advantage of the loan market for incoming players. There was an acceptance that there would be a ‘Newcastle tax’ added to any permanent transfer we were looking to do. Largely that was true, but this end of the market wasn’t used as much as people assumed it would be going into January.

The full advantage was taken when it came to players leaving the club, to try and add space in the 25-man first team squad, after Newcastle added five players in the past month. Whether that decision will come back to haunt us, it can only really be decided come the last game of the season. But overall, the transfer activity was better than expected from the club. So how was the loan market utilised, and was it used well?

If we talk about the side that affects Newcastle in the here and now, the incomings. Matt Targett was borrowed from Aston Villa until then end of the season. There was talk this may include an option to buy, but as far as I am aware nothing was concretely confirmed on that count. But by utilising one of our available domestic loans, to bring in a player, who was not only voted the ‘players player of the year’ last season with Aston Villa, but someone who adds quality to our left side, and defence.

The deal for Targett, can be seen as low risk, high reward. Here we have a left back that instantly improves us, comes with plenty of Premier league experience from both Villa and Southampton, and is familiar with a relegation fight in his time with Villa. It feels like a smart move to get a player who fills a gap, and to see how he performs between now and the end of the season.

There were attempts to bring another player from the Prem in on loan. The ill-fated attempts to prise Jesse Lingard away from Manchester United, was scuppered only by the selling club. By all accounts the player wanted to come, Ralf Ragnick gave his blessing for Lingard to move to Tyneside. Yet a deal could not be reached for a player with 6 months left on his contract. What Newcastle came up against in this bid, I have never seen the like in the loan market. The red side of Manchester wanted a bonus if Newcastle avoided the drop, a fee that would have seen the transfer rise to near £15 million. Here we saw the Newcastle tax in full effect, the club were happy with the format of the deal (loan fee, survival clause, and 100% of Lingard’s wages) but on a much-reduced level, the last bid that went in would have cost Newcastle around £9 million, but the selling club decided to keep a player who wanted to leave, and is free in May!

There were of course outgoings in this window. Joe White made the trip down the A19 to Hartlepool until the end of the season, Matt Bondswelljoined Shrewsbury, and Elliot Anderson went to join Joey Barton at Bristol Rovers, all on deals until the end of the season. All deals that will give the young players much needed first team football as they continue their development. And moves that will sure to be keeping Loan Manager Shola Ameobi busy in the coming months.

There were also three ‘first team’ players made temporary moves away from the club this window. Freddie Woodman, again seeking much needed game time, made the journey to the south coast to join Scott Parker’s Bournemouth side. This was a move that was set up in the summer, and would have gone through then, had Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow not been unavailable. Jeff Hendrick would turn down Middlesborough, instead opting to join promotion chasing QPR, in a deal he has said he had to take, as he didn’t want to be sitting around unregistered for the rest of the season, not playing!

The strangest deal came in Matty Longstaff’s second loan move of the season. Longstaff was pulled back from his deal with Aberdeen at the start of the window. A move that saw his game time limited. He would join League 2 side Mansfield on deadline day. For a player that was highly rated last season and had Serie A side Udinese chasing him in the summer, it has been a downward turn for the North Shields lad.

You would assume the club would want him to be playing Championship football in the final months. But this move would lead me to assume, that no Championship sides were willing to take the risk, with only League 1 Oxford mooted as another potential move, but by all accounts, didn’t make a move for the midfielder. Whether the younger Longstaff will thrive in this move, only time will tell but it did seem a strange move, when the quality may have been better in the SPL?!

There was still room to be made in the first team squad, and reports suggested that Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis were made available, after Dan Burn and Matt Targett were brought in. But as both players are still reporting to Benton for training, it came out that they both rejected moves on the final day. Clark turned down Chris Wilder and Boro and looking at reports Lewis turned down moves to both Birmingham City and Stoke City. It seems strange that they would be willing to sit unregistered for the remainder of the season, as it looks unlikely either will be included in the squad for the rest of the season.

All in all, the loan market has been used effectively this window, probably not as much as many expected. If the club use it again in the summer, they won’t come up against weird demands, and can expect to see a lot of ‘options to buy’ included in deals as the continue to improve the squad. As for the outgoings, only time will tell, the game time available and the performance of the players can only determine whether they can be judged a success. But the club have worked well in finding clubs for those that needed it, even if some decided to stay and not play!