With the Premier League transfer window now open, we give our views on the best transfer window our club has witnessed under the stewardship of Mike Ashley. Hopefully once the takeover is completed, transfers windows can soon revert to being periods of anticipation and excitement, rather than frustrations and gloom.
5) 2011/12 Winter Window – Pappis Cisse
The signing of the Senegalese striker from Freiburg was astonishing. Although the deal was not met with much excitement by Newcastle fans, due to the unknown status of the striker, he quickly became a fan favourite on Tyneside.
Awarded the famous Newcastle number 9, Cisse certainly delivered goals following his £9 million transfer. Everything the striker touched turned to goals, and they weren’t just tap ins by any stretch of the imagination.
He scored 11 goals in his first 10 appearances in black and white, netting consecutive braces against West Brom, Liverpool and Swansea before scoring the BBC Goal of the Season with that strike at Stamford Bridge.
Papiss Cisse finished the season with 13 goals in 14 Premier League matches as we finished in 5th place. Although the form of the striker naturally dipped in the following seasons, he still scored important goals at important times during the following seasons.
I personally remember his long range volley against Southampton when we were struggling for points in the league, and a last minute winner at Stoke, being vital in securing our Premier League status. Then there was the small matter of a 94th minute winner against Anzhi in the Europa League, a goal that I am sure will live forever in the memory of Newcastle fans.
4) 2012/13 Winter Window – The French Revolution
In the January transfer window of 2012/13, Graham Carr was tasked with repeating his previous success of uncovering gems from Ligue 1. With the intention of acquiring the next Hatem Ben Arfa, or Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle acquired four French players to help fight off the threat of relegation.
Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were all bought to Newcastle United.
The main aim was to retain Premier League status, and I believe without these signings, we would have fallen short of that goal. Moussa Sissoko was the best of the bunch, both in terms of performances in black and white, and transfer fee recouped from his sale.
He burst on the scene, scoring a brace during the memorable 3-2 win over Chelsea as he put in a display that a prime Yaya Toure would be proud of. There is no doubt Ashley Cole still has flashbacks to this match in his nightmares.
Unfortunately, the French powerhouse could not replicate these unplayable performances too often in the North East, with a poor attitude and publicly expressed desire to join a team in the Champions League places. The £30 million transfer fee paid by Tottenham was a sensational piece of business by the club.
Gouffran was also an important player in the remainder of the 2012/13 season, netting in our 2-1 win over QPR that guaranteed Premier League safety. With many fans writing off the Frenchman in the following campaigns, Rafa Benitez deployed Gouffran throughout the Championship campaign to great effect, before he departed St James’ Park in high regards.
Both Haidara and Yanga-Mbiwa struggled after making the switch from Ligue 1. It can be argued they both had great potential when joining the club, but did not live up to this for varying reasons.
Haidara of course suffered the horrific injury against Wigan, while Yanga-Mbiwa was not blessed with the most defensively focused managers, but has continued to play in the Champions League for Roma and Lyon.
3) 2008/09 Summer Window – The Duo from Argentina
The transfer window of 2008/09 delivered not just Sebastien Bassong, but also two long haired players from Argentina who certainly left their mark on Newcastle United.
Admittedly the season was not a good one for Newcastle United as we were relegated, however it was no fault of these newly acquired players.
Sebastien Bassong went on to be named the Newcastle Player of the Season for 2008/09, however his career in the North East was short lived following our relegation.
The duo from Argentina both enjoyed much longer careers with the club, racking up a combined 480 appearances.
Firstly, Jonas Gutierez became an adopted Geordie after providing us with some truly memorable moments. Our own “Spiderman” never once put in less than 100% effort for our club, as his relentless work rate and clear love for the club was greatly appreciated by fans.
The cherry on top for the Argentinian was the goal he scored against West Ham United. You know what I’m talking about. After an extended period out of the game due to the detection of a tumour, Gutierez set up the first goal, before netting the iconic goal against West Ham to secure our Premier League status on the final day of the season.
National compatriot Fabricio Coloccini also enjoyed a hugely successful spell in the North East. Following our drop down a division, Coloccini appeared 37 times in the Championship, playing an integral role in our instant return to the Premier League.
When returning to the top division, he was awarded the captains armband and lead us through some great moments. Forming a formidable partnership with Steven Taylor, the Argentinian was named in the PFA Team of the Year as we secured a fifth placed finish.
2) 2018/19 Summer Window – Shopping on a Budget
Under the ownership of Mike Ashley, we have become accustomed to bargain signings. In the majority of cases, the lower the price tag, the greater the risk of failure. This was not the case in 2018/19 as Rafa Benitez worked his magic in the transfer window.
Five key players for the upcoming season were signed, with 3 of the players joining on a loan deal. Salomon Rondon, Kenedy, and Martin Dubravka joined on loan, while Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez joined for a combined fee of £8 million.
These players were essential in a top half finish for the Magpies and truly underlined the potential of our club. The transfer window was so successful, it really poses the question of what Rafa Benitez could have achieved in Tyneside if he was backed financially.
1) 2015/16 Summer Window – Why Him?
Topping our list for the best transfer window of the Mike Ashley era is the summer of 2015/16. The players we signed in this window were truly exceptional, but somehow Steve McClaren still managed to get us relegated.
Gini Wijnaldum is now one of the best midfielders in world football. Recently becoming a Premier League winner, he was also integral in Liverpool lifting the Champions League, scoring a brace in the iconic comeback against Barcelona.
When you add Florian Thauvin, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba, and even Mehdi Abeid to that list I dont think there has been a better transfer window in the last 13 years.
I believe the additions of the 2015/16 summer transfer window transformed our squad into the strongest it had been in years. Although it earns top spot on this list, the overbearing feeling towards that season still remains to be frustration.
Why did Mike Ashley back Steve McClaren of all managers so heavily? Why has the investment not been repeated since? Why did it take so long to push the manager out the door?
In recent times, during the wake of the highly anticipated takeover, we have been linked with an abundance of world class players (Every single NUFC linked player can be found here). I truly hope this is the end of Mike Ashley, and excitement can once again start to flow through our city during transfer windows.
Do you agree with our list?
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