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Frustration as Newcastle fail to make a deadline-day addition
WITH a grim sense of inevitability, the transfer window closed last night without Newcastle United making a single addition to their squad.
The Magpies held on to Yohan Cabaye as neither Arsenal nor Paris St Germain made a renewed approach, but any relief at the retention of the French midfielder was tempered by frustration at the club's failure to add to the loan capture of Loic Remy, which was completed last month.
Newcastle were the only Premier League club not to make a single permanent signing this summer, despite both manager Alan Pardew and controversial director of football Joe Kinnear repeatedly outlining the need to add to a squad that could only finish in 16th position last season.
There was contact with a number of clubs at the end of last month, but speculative interest in the likes of Andre Ayew, Tom Ince and Florian Thauvin failed to lead to a formal bid.
That will place considerable strain on a squad that has lost Danny Simpson and James Perch since the end of last season, squad players who provided valuable cover in a number of different positions.
Newcastle look short of options at both centre-half and centre-forward, and while the absence of European football should relieve some of the pressure that built up last term, two or three injuries would leave the club in an extremely difficult position.
Privately, Pardew would surely accept as much given that he was speaking of the need to make “one or two attacking additions” as recently as last week.
The Newcastle boss is no stranger to disappointing deadline days, and while yesterday's lack of activity was arguably not as damaging as the decision to sell Andy Carroll to Liverpool without a replacement in 2011, it nevertheless represents a considerable blow to any hopes of returning to the top half of the table.
Confirmation of Newcastle's failure to make a signing was greeted with an angry response on supporters' websites and social media outlets, but the majority of the fans' ire was directed at Kinnear and owner Mike Ashley rather than Pardew.
Kinnear was appointed as director of football specifically to help get transfers “over the line”, and his failure to pull off a single deal other than the loan capture of Remy – a transfer that was effectively drawn up and agreed in January, only for the striker to choose QPR instead – raises yet more questions about the wisdom of his appointment.
The 66-year-old had never performed a director of football role before, indeed prior to his surprise return at the start of the summer, his only involvement in football in the last ten years had been a brief spell at Nottingham Forest and an ill-fated five-month spell in charge of Newcastle at the start of the season that ended in relegation to the Championship.
Quite what his role will be in the future remains to be seen, although he remains close to Ashley and is unlikely to be admonished for his lack of success in the transfer market.
This summer's stance also raises questions about Ashley's future ambitions. While Newcastle were one the busiest clubs in the January transfer window, recruiting five players in order to stave off the threat of relegation, the sportswear magnate's refusal to make a single permanent addition this summer hardly smacks of someone desperate to challenge at the top end of the table.
Meanwhile, defender Paul Dummett has received his maiden call-up into the senior Wales squad for this week's World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.
* Jonathyn Quinn scored a hat-trick for Newcastle's development side yesterday afternoon – but still ended up on the losing side as the Magpies' second string lost 5-4 to West Ham.
Quinn, an Ashington-born 17-year-old, helped Newcastle race into a three-goal lead, but they were pegged back by West Ham, who featured a hat-trick hero of their own in the shape of Robert Lee's son, Elliot.
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