The reality of McClaren’s transfer scope at Ashley’s Newcastle

Charlie Austin has been backed in from 2/7 to 2/9 with Ladbrokes to swap QPR for Newcastle this summer, with the clubs thought to be haggling over whether the 25-year-old striker, who bagged 18 Premier League goals in 2014/15, is worth £10m, £15m, or somewhere in between.

The Geordies will need to look after the pennies if they’re to land their reported transfer targets, but the history of Newcastle under owner Mike Ashley suggests new boss Steve McClaren needs to aim lower than the likes of West Brom’s Saido Berahino.

Buying both Berahino and Austin would probably see Ashley doling out the best part of £35m, which seems unlikely seeing as the Sports Direct boss has spent as much just once in his eight summers at St James’ Park so far.


Charlie Austin may be the only big-money Newcastle signing this summer

Furthermore, the 50-year-old has banked an estimated £17m profit from buying and selling players since the start of his St James’ Park takeover in 2007, and there’s no past precedent to suggest Ashley will hand McClaren a bumper budget this summer, with few viable selling options in the Magpies’ current ranks.

Last year’s record spend under Ashley of £37m was counterbalanced by around £17m coming in from the sales of Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, while £7m duo Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles were loaned back to Nottingham Forest, and will be added to McClaren’s squad this summer.

Moussa Sissoko, probably Newcastle’s most saleable asset at present, looks likely to stay for at least another season, and losing the 25-year-old would mean ploughing money back into the huge gap he would leave in midfield anyway.

Beyond Sissoko, Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat and Ayoze Perez, a quartet McClaren ought to be building a team around, there’s not really much to make a bob or two from.

There’s no guarantee Ashley won’t change tack and hand the former England boss an unprecedented wedge to spend (he has the money after all), but after getting burned to the tune of over £20m when signing Emmanuel Riviere, Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella last summer, that remains to be seen.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.