Its that time of year again. The annual NUFC annual transfer malaise is up and running . This year seems more haphazard/cack handed/rubbish than usual. The tactics seem to be not to pay anything for anyone, chase one player on loan for the whole pre season and wait for the crushing blow as said player inevitably goes somewhere else,

leaving us wishing we hadn’t put all eggs in the one basket. Even if Willock does sign on loan , is their some ban on trying to get anyone else (shock horror ) just in case?

One player who epitomises the transfer policy at Newcastle over the last five years is Emil Krafth. A seasoned international footballer who we still don’t really know even which  his best position is, despite being here two full seasons now.

He is one of a bunch of players who the club are wondering whether to stick or twist with as the contract runs down. Its another example of the club being in total limbo. For some reason we jump at the chance of giving bit part players like Gayle new contracts but they had to be dragged, kicking and screaming to give extensions to Schaar and Fernandez and no doubt the last year of Krafth’s contract will be the same.

Krafth signed in 2019 from French side Amiens for a Newcastle friendly figure of £5m . That’s a nice little fee. Not enough to get Ashley away from his ample deckchair in the Caribbean but also if the player is successful and we double our fee, enough for Charnley et al to go arse licking in the Caribbean and taking credit for it.

This is unlikely to be one of those. Krafth was bought as a full back but now sees a winger who was on loan in the championship firmly established in that position and Murphy now holds all the aces after playing as much a part as anyone to us finishing where we did last season.

Where does this leave Krafth?

Eye brows were certainly raised last year when United’s  wages were leaked to some rag and placed on the internet, and eye brows were raised to monobrow heights when Krafth’s wage was leaked. A reported £12m contract was signed with reported wages of £52 thousand pound a week . That’s serious money for a club who look after every penny, so someone must have seen something in him to get him.

He would have been a Benitez signing had we not lost the plot with him  Bruce doesn’t want him. That’s plain to see. If anything though that means he’s always got a chance with me for that reason only.

Bruce’s reputation for players and tactics is up there with that German Elephant who picked the scores of games at the Euros with his trunk from two pales of water. In the aftermath of Benitez going I was that sick of the club that we could have brought in Messi, Pele and Ronaldo and I would have called them . Krafth was on to a loser from the start and didn’t help himself with a terrible performance (his worst) as we capitulated at Promoted Norwich in the first away match. Any credibility was eroded for him as the fans jumped on any weakness of players brought in in the aftermath of Benitez going. Harsh, but that’s life at Newcastle and high level football I’m afraid.

Injuries and a tendency of Bruce not to trust him meant he next appeared against Chelsea in January , playing his part that day in making the game sterile, awful and mind numbing but we managed to win right at the end and the world was alright. Post lockdown Krafth made regular appearances starting 5 out of the last 7 games and still people thought it was Ritchie clearing the ball.

I wasn’t convinced at all but I do think Krafth often gets a raw deal from the fans. Let’s face it, he’s where we are right now. You can take that many ways, but I’d say we are a team full of Krafths , minus Wilson and Dubravka. Average Premier League players and good championship ones is he really that bad?

One thing he needs to pick up on is his social media account. Start putting crowd pleasing things  on there like laughing at Sunderland and the fans will lap you up despite being not really that good either.

Hello Jethro Willems.

Krafth ended last season playing as part of a three man centre half formulation which was fruitful in terms of points and like a lot of others, seem to benefit from Jones’ influence,

but also he seemed as fit as had ever been at Newcastle and whether that was because he needed games to play a part in Swedens Euro campaign is a moot point, but he looked ok to me in the latter part of the season and always gave his all, despite always being the fall guy if it did go wrong.  I sort of see him as an Andy O’Brien character , what helped O’Brien was a goal against the mackems and putting himself in positions to always break his nose.

Neither really an option at the minute.

If anyone was expecting him to come out of the shadows at the Euros , and maybe grab us a few quid , they were disappointed as he did what he did for us and stayed firmly in the shadows.

Though I must admit I didn’t really catch Sweden much as I had just watched 8 months of that, I saw one game and he looked entirely comfortable in a really defensive side which also relied entirely on a pacy striker to hunt down the long balls he cleared. Sounds familiar.

This worked brilliantly as Sweden won the group but came unstuck spectacularly as a terrible Ukraine side ambushed them at the end of extra time.

Krafth is back and though rumours suggest he will be tried to be off loaded at the earliest opportunity, he wont be going anywhere looking at that deal and this is a massive year for him. We need to see more confidence and he’s going to get as much practice as ever as we face the most crosses, concede the most yards and possession in the league.

Somehow I feel like destined never to really fit in here and he’s playing for a  move to Italy where he played with Bologna. Its in our best interests to give him a chance though, he’s not the worst , just not in any shape or form the best.

NUFC in 2021-2022. Krafthwork.

SCOTT ROBSON