Tuesday Topic: Newcastle's transfer hits and misses under Mike Ashley

The Northern Echo: Newcastle United's Vurnon Anita celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match at the KC Stadium, Hull. Newcastle United's Vurnon Anita celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match at the KC Stadium, Hull.

REMY Cabella became Newcastle United’s fourth summer signing after completing a £7m move from Montpellier on Sunday. Sports writer Steph Clark analyses how sucessful Mike Ashley’s big buys have been at St James' Park

IT’S been a good few weeks for Newcastle United supporters. After months of waiting and wondering when the next permanent signing would walk through the doors at St James’ Park, four have come in the space of five weeks – and there could be more to follow soon.

Ayoze Perez (£1.8m), Siem de Jong (£7.5m) and Remy Cabella (£7m) have joined for a combined total of £16.3m, while Jack Colback arrived on a free transfer.

Feyenoord’s Daryl Janmaat is close to becoming number five and taking Newcastle’s spending past the £20m mark, and there is still a sizeable kitty ready to be spent on bringing two strikers to Tyneside.

As things stand, the summer of 2014 will represent the biggest outlay Newcastle have made during a transfer window under Ashley and having craved the arrival of big-money signings, fans are now eager to see whether his spending pays off.

Certainly, de Jong and Cabella, in particular, arrive with glowing reports from Holland and France respectively and Alan Pardew will hope his new additions can help the Magpies equal, if not better, their fifth-place finish three seasons ago.

There is no doubt Newcastle have had a squad capable of doing so over the last couple of years, but with key players being sold at different times and others brought in on temporary deals, they have always seemed two or three players away from being a complete squad.

Of course, spending doesn’t always guarantee success as several clubs have found out and now Newcastle have loosened the purse strings, their dealings will be under whole new level of scrutiny.

Ashley is clearly very selective when it comes to getting his chequebook out, but the question is no longer when will the Newcastle owner splash the cash, rather will it be money well spent? Here’s how he’s faired so far:

ASHLEY’S TOP SIX MOST EXPENSIVE PLAYERS (Excl de Jong and Cabella)

1. Fabricio Coloccini (£9.1m from Deportivo La Coruna)

The Northern Echo:

Having seen the likes of David Rozenthal and Jean-Alain Boumsong fail to carve out successful careers on Tyneside, Newcastle turned to Coloccini in a bid to shore up their infamous defence. His £9.1m price tag seemed an utter waste when the Magpies were relegated in his first season, but the Argentina international stuck around in the Championship and has become arguably the club’s most consistent performer throughout the reigns of Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew. With Coloccini now 32, Newcastle will not recoup what they paid for him, but six years and 204 appearances later, they have definitely got their monies worth from the central defender.

Verdict: HIT

2. Papiss Cisse (£9m from Freiburg)

The Northern Echo:

After his first six months on Tyneside yielded 13 goals in 14 games, £9m for the Cisse looked an absolute steal. However, things began to go downhill for the Senegal international and a return of 17 goals over the following two seasons (just four coming in the last campaign), is hardly the form you would expect from a player that cost almost £10m. There have been suggestions Newcastle could sell the out-of-form front man, but that would certainly mean selling him at a loss, and that definitely doesn’t follow Ashley’s blueprint considering the profit he has made from selling Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy.

Verdict: MISS

3. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (£6.7m from Montpellier)

The Northern Echo:

Yanga-Mbiwa was one of five Frenchman to join Newcastle in January 2013 and he arrived with an impressive reputation having captained the Ligue 1 outfit in the Champions League. Initial impressions suggested the 25-year-old was a perfect fit for the Premier League, but he played his part in a few calamitous results – most notably the 4-0 and 3-0 defeats to Southampton and Everton - and it seems Pardew is willing to let the centre-back go despite paying almost £7m to sign him 18 months ago. It’s hard to distinguish whether Newcastle have badly mishandled Yanga-Mbiwa’s talent or rushed into a signing at a time they were fighting relegation, but either way it hasn’t exactly represented good business.

Verdict: MISS

4. Vurnon Anita (£6.7m)

The Northern Echo:

In the summer of 2012, Anita was the only senior signing Newcastle made. It was an odd transfer window given the fact the Magpies had just finished fifth in the Premier League with many expecting Pardew’s squad to be strengthened ready for another assault on the top four. Again, Anita arrived with a winning-pedigree having won two Dutch titles at Ajax and represented Holland at every level, but in his first season he had to compete with Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote and was often pushed out wide. He has certainly improved over the past 12 months and established himself as a key squad member.

Verdict: HIT

5. Jose Enrique (£6m from Villarreal)

The Northern Echo:

It took Enrique time to settle in at St James’ Park and he was used sporadically in his first season by then manager Sam Allardyce, but the Spanish left-back grew into his role and became a prominent figure for the Magpies. Even after relegation, the defender stayed on despite interest from the Premier League and proved to be a pivotal figure in helping Newcastle to promotion. He stayed on for their first season back in the top flight, but after 119 appearances Newcastle allowed him to join Liverpool in 2011 for the same fee they had paid.

Verdict: HIT

INS UNDER MIKE ASHLEY

Barton (£5.8m) . . . . . . .  . HIT
Rozenhal (£2.9m) . . . . .  MISS
Smith (£6m) . . . . . . . . . . MISS
Enrique (£6m) . . . . . . . .  . HIT
Faye (£2m). . . . . . . . . . . MISS
Beye (£2m) . . . . . . . . . .  MISS
Gutierrez (£4m). . . . . . . . . HIT
Coloccini (£9.1m) . . . . . .  . HIT
Guthrie (£2.5m) . . . . . . . MISS
Bassong (£500k)  . . . . . . . HIT
Xisco (£5.7m) . . . . . . . . . MISS
Nolan (£4m) . . . . . . . . . . . HIT
R Taylor (£2m)  . . . . . . . . . HIT
Simpson (£500k)  . . . . . . . HIT
Routledge (£1.5m) . . . . . MISS
Williamson (£1m) . . . . . . . HIT
Best (£1.5m) . . . . . . . . . MISS
Perch (£800k). . . . . . . . . . HIT
Tiote (£3.5m) . . . . . . . . . . HIT
Ben Arfa (£5.75m)  . . . . . . HIT
Cabaye (£4m) . . .  . . . . . . HIT
Obertan (£3.25m). . . . . . MISS
Santon (£5.5m) . . . . . . MAYBE
Elliot (£250k). . . . . . . . . . . HIT
Cisse (£9m). . . . . .  . . . MAYBE
Bigirimana (£1m) . . . . . MAYBE
Good (£500k) . . . . . . . MAYBE
Anita (£6.7m). . . . . .. . . . . HIT
Debuchy (£5m) . . . .  . . . . HIT
Haidara (£2.5m) . . . . . MAYBE
Yanga-Mbiwa (£6.7m) . . MISS
Gouffran (£2m) . . . . . . MAYBE
Sissoko (£2m) . . . . . . . MAYBE
Mbabu (£500k) . . . . . . MAYBE
Remy (£2m loan fee) . . . . HIT

YET TO PLAY: Perez (1.8m); Colback (free); De Jong (£7.5m); Cabella (£7m)

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