Update: Newcastle have bought Chelsea for 5 mil.
When I last wrote about Newcastle United’s ability to price opposition clubs out of the market, I had a sneaky feeling that they would snap up another big player this summer by outbidding a rival Premiership club.
I guess some things don’t change. Damien Duff could represent Newcastle United‘s best signing of the summer, if the reports are true, Tottenham had a 7 mil bid for Duff turned down by Chelsea and Liverpool themselves had been monitoring the situation quite closely.
Why did both sides let Newcastle walk away with Duff?
It’s not the promise of first-team football. At Tottenham Duff would have started all games at the left wing and at Liverpool, despite Harry Kewell, Duff would have been first choice on the left as well. Newcastle on the other hand have Luque, and unless this is a ploy by Roeder to prepare to sell Luque I don’t think Duff is going to have more games at Newcastle than he would have had at Liverpool or Tottenham.
It’s not the promise of European football either. Newcastle head today into their InterToto clash with Lillestrom – victory would see them in the UEFA cup, defeat would see them nowhere. I have no doubt that Newcastle could win, but their penchance for self-destruction could rear its ugly head and Duff could end up going from a team guaranteed the knock out stages of the Champions League to a team out of Europe.
I wonder if Duff will be able to jump ship to another club if Newcastle are not in Europe come Monday?
That leaves two reasons – transfer fee and wages.
If Tottenham and Liverpool were unable to match 10 mil (the rumoured transfer fee paid by Newcastle), then the boards of both teams have a serious problem. Even with Duff, Newcastle remain an inferior side to Liverpool, but why would Benitez not splash the cash to land a player his team would be improved with?
And why could Martin Jol not raise his offer to 10 mil? Duff is one of the few players who has actually been priced according to his value this summer. For all the fuss Tottenham fans made when I first linked the Spurs with Duff about how much money they had available, not making a big enough offer for Duff would count as failure for Tottenham.
There is the case of wages though. Duff was supposed to have to get a wage cut if he agreed to go to Tottenham or Liverpool, and even if he stayed at Chelsea. Could it be that Duff went to Newcastle for the money? Wouldn’t be the first time…
And please…don’t suggest that Duff went to a better club – Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all ahead of Newcastle United in the pecking, even if only for one season. And for the better manager? Despite Newcastle’s romp to 7th place towards the end of last season, one must not forget that their 7th place was made possible as much by poor performances by their rivals as by their own successes. Roeder is a good manager, but he’ll need more time before he can be considered an equal to Rafa Benitez and Martin Jol.
There is one last reason to consider: Could it be that Chelsea, in its desire to do good business, agreed to selling Duff to Newcastle but not to Liverpool? I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what had happened.
Then again, it could be the same old story – Newcastle have the money, and they are quick to spend it.
And with that, I leave the floor open to your criticism.