Nearly 13 Years Have Passed and Michael Owen is Still NUFC’s Record Signing

Michael Owen became the most expensive signing in the history of Newcastle United Football Club when he joined for a fee of around £16 million in the summer of 2005.

Many predicted this transfer would help Newcastle in becoming a force in English football, and a club who would spend whatever was necessary to attract the best players and push for major honours. But, almost thirteen years have passed, and Owen remains the most expensive player in the history of Newcastle United Football Club.

As transfer fees throughout football have grown exponentially, clubs have been forced to spend more in order to keep themselves in with a chance of cutting it among the best teams domestically and across Europe.

Unfortunately for the loyal fans of Newcastle United, their club’s failure to make those big marquee signings could be the reason why they are no longer thought of as one of the big boys in English football.

History of NUFC’s Transfer Record

When Harry Clifton joined Newcastle from Chesterfield for a fee of £8,500 in 1938, the club broke their transfer record which had stood for ten years. This length of time between Newcastle breaking their transfer record was itself a record until 2016.

In the summer of 2015, it was ten years since Owen had become Newcastle’s record signing and that equalled the time between Jack Hill and Harry Clifton. In 2016, the previous record was broken and this summer it will be thirteen years without the club breaking its record transfer fee.

Newcastle had gotten close to matching the previous time between breaking their transfer record, with it being nine years between Alan Shearer and Michael Owen. Which was surprising, considering they broke their transfer record seven times between 1993 and 1996.

Andy Cole became the first million-pound player in the club’s history when he signed for £1.75m in 1993. A year later, Ruel Fox and Darren Peacock both broke the record within a month of each other, and a year later Warren Barton and Les Ferdinand were also record breakers.

Faustino Asprilla was signed for £6.7m in February 1996, but his record fee was shattered when Shearer joined the club before the start of the 1996/97 season. The £8.3m difference was a rise of 123.88% on the previous record fee paid out.

Michael Owen’s transfer fee was over £1m more than what the club paid for Shearer nine years earlier and still remains as Newcastle’s record signing, much to the dismay of the Toon Army.

The Rise of Transfer Fees Since 2005

When Owen joined Newcastle in 2005, his fee was nowhere near as much as the British or World record at the time.

The British record transfer fee was £29.1m paid by Manchester United for Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United in 2002. The world record fee was £46.6m for Zinedine Zidane, who joined Real Madrid from Juventus for that fee in 2001.

Since then, both of these records have been shattered several times and currently stand at £198m for the world record fee and £89.7m for the British record. That £89.7m is the record fee paid out by a British club, which was achieved when Paul Pogba joined Manchester United in July 2016.

However, the overall British transfer record is the £105m Barcelona paid to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho in January 2018.

Taking football inflation into account, the approximate £16m paid for Owen would equate to around £80m in the market today, according to a recent Betway blog post.

Three Iconic Former NUFC Players and How Much They Would Be Worth in Today’s Transfer Market

Newcastle in the Transfer Market Since 2005

Newcastle have spent money in the transfer market since signing Owen, with three of their top five most expensive players in history being signed in 2015.

However, taking the fact that Owen would be worth around £80m in the market today and he’s still their record signing, shows that the club have spent nowhere near enough to keep up with their rivals.

Newcastle’s most expensive signing since Owen joined the club is Georginio Wijnaldum, who cost £14.5m from PSV in July 2015, and there have also been several players signed for around £12/£13m.

Nobody expects Newcastle to be spending as much as the £80m Owen would reportedly be worth today, but their failure to bring in a marquee signing and at least keep up with most other bottom-half Premier League teams is a big worry for their fans.

Only five Premier League clubs have a lower record transfer fee than Newcastle, with even historically tight spenders Crystal Palace and Leicester City having records nearing £30m.

When Owen signed for Newcastle, the club were hoping to push on and constantly challenge for at least a top-six position. Now, they are in the bottom half of the table having last year been playing in the Championship.

Their failure to keep up with other clubs in the transfer market could be the main reason why they haven’t fulfilled the promise they showed and why they haven’t gone on to become a force in English football.

Relegation riot: who will be playing Championship football next season?

While the battle for the Premier League title usually grabs the imagination of football fans, it is often the case that the fight to avoid relegation is equally compelling.

This year’s relegation fight promises to be particularly fascinating. Usually, the tussle at the bottom involves perhaps six or seven teams, but this time around, we can make a plausible case for as many as 12 sides to end up in the Championship. Part of the reason for this is the increasing dominance of the big teams. Over the last few seasons, the typical Big Four of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea has expanded to include Liverpool and Tottenham, and these six are engaged in what is almost a separate league.

In the current season, Manchester City have been hoovering up all of the points on offer, while the chasing five have done their best to keep pace, and in the absence of one or two clearly inferior teams, the remaining points have been shared out more or less equally among the bottom 12. With 11 games to go, the gap between Watford in 11th and West Brom at the bottom is just ten points. How will this relegation battle develop? Here, we take a look at the main candidates to drop into the Championship.

 

The favourites

West Brom began the season with a couple of wins, but a run of six defeats in ten games saw the club act to remove manager Tony Pulis and replace him with Alan Pardew. Results, however, have not improved, and Albion’s problem is that they’ve already called on two men renowned for saving clubs from relegation – Pulis and Roy Hodgson. Meanwhile, they have continued to find goals hard to come by. In a typical year, they might be down already.

If anything is going to save West Brom, it could be the ineptitude of their rivals, the closest of which is another former Pulis side – Stoke City. Like Albion, the Potters pulled the plug on the incumbent manager, but Paul Lambert has not proven much more successful than Mark Hughes, though he has managed to make them a little stronger defensively. One thing in Stoke’s favour is that they have enough winnable fixtures remaining to survive.

If Stoke’s combative defensiveness under Lambert gives them a chance, the same cannot be said for Southampton. They secured a priceless 3-2 win at Albion last month, but that was their first win since November, and they’ve drawn too many games. Having stuck with manager Mauricio Pellegrino, it’s too late for the club to make a change now, and this inability to turn draws into victories could prove costly.

Southampton’s plight is made starker by the recent improvements at Huddersfield and Swansea. After a solid start to life in the Premiership, the Terriers appeared to be heading back to the Championship following a run of six straight defeats in 2018, but a stunning 4-1 home win over Bournemouth stopped the rot, and if David Wagner’s players can continue to show that level of spirit, they can yet survive.

The other bottom-five side who appear to be heading in the right direction are Swansea. Having dispensed with Paul Clement when the Swans were bottom of the table, they moved quickly for former Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal, who has masterminded a stunning turnaround. Under his leadership, Swansea have lost one in seven, beaten Arsenal and Liverpool, and moved decisively out of the bottom three.

 

The other contenders

It has taken Roy Hodgson slightly longer than Carvalhal to turn around his relegation-threatened team, but he seems to have Crystal Palace well organised, and they will surely be too tough to get sucked back into the relegation mire – comments that also apply to West Ham, who under David Moyes have only lost once this year.

Brighton have proven to be a surprise package this season, and have managed to pull out enough good results to keep themselves clear of the relegation zone. What could count against them in a close-run battle is their fixture schedule, which pits them against Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United in their last four games. If they aren’t safe by then, things could be getting very tense on the South Coast.

Bournemouth’s shock 4-1 defeat at Huddersfield may have rattled the Cherries’ supporters, but they have enough in their squad to avoid slipping into the relegation zone, and the same can probably be said for Watford and Everton.

Newcastle’s safety, however, is very much up for grabs. The ongoing saga of the club’s sale and the lack of transfer investment has left the Magpies perilously close to the drop. What may count in their favour is the expertise of manager Rafa Benítez, who was able to engineer a crucial victory over Manchester United and is likely to have one or two more tricks up his sleeve that could keep them safe.

Even if your club isn’t involved in the struggle, the desperate tussle to avoid slipping out of the Premier League basement offers plenty of drama and spectacle, and those who like to play the sports betting markets at this time of year are well aware that the fight to avoid relegation can sometimes lead to surprising results at big odds as lowly teams find an extra gear or an extra level of effort as they scrap for every single point.

With so many teams potentially involved, almost every match from now to the end of the season will have relevance to the relegation picture, which should make for a thoroughly gripping and entertaining close to the season – unless, of course, your team is involved!

Is Harry Kane the Best Striker in World Football?

Source: Harry Kane via Facebook

Love him or hate him, Harry Kane is one of the most dangerous forwards in world football. The Tottenham Hotspur striker isn’t going to earn plaudits for audacity or skill but he is arguably the best in the business when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net. With a number of Europe’s elite clubs now sniffing about for his signature, Spurs will be keen to tie the England international down to an extended deal.

Kane has scored 31 goals in 33 competitive games for Tottenham this season – a record that puts him at the forefront of European football. Only Mo Salah comes close to his Premier League goals tally and Spurs will hope that he can keep it up for the rest of the campaign. With a Champions League double header against Juventus approaching, Kane has the chance to send a timely reminder to any lingering doubters.

In order to enhance his status further, Kane must sparkle on the biggest stage of all. He could lead England to World Cup glory this summer; Gareth Southgate’s side were sensational during the qualifying campaign, avoiding defeat in all ten of their group stage fixtures. At the time of writing, England are priced at 20/1 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy this summer and fans will be expecting Kane to make a positive impact.

In addition, the Spurs striker is priced at an industry best 25/1 to win the Golden Boot. Given his efforts so far this season, Kane deserves to be considered seriously and he could flourish against Tunisia and Panama in the group stages. The Three Lions have struggled at major tournaments in recent years but an in-form Kane may give Southgate’s men that added boost as they try to reach the latter stages of the competition.

Secondly, Kane could move to an elite club in the summer. Playing at the top level for a Real Madrid or a Manchester United would certainly cement his standing as the best striker on the planet. It would be hard to turn down a transfer to Santiago Bernabeu but a move to one of England’s biggest clubs may be preferable. He has Alan Shearer’s top-flight record of 260 goals well and truly in his sights and he is still just 24 years old.

Tottenham’s main man has already scored 22 Premier League goals this season and he will be looking to eclipse the 25-goal mark for the third year in a row. Plenty of punters will be tempted by Kane’s odds ahead of the World Cup and you can keep up with the latest betting news and odds via https://www.freebets.com in the build-up to, during and following, the 2018 World Cup.

Harry Kane is the ultimate goal scorer and Tottenham will be desperately trying to fend off any advances to sign the 24-year-old in the upcoming transfer window. If Kane shines at the World Cup this summer, Real Madrid may come knocking and shrewd operator Daniel Levy may enter negotiations. Is he the best in world football? You’d be hard-pressed to make a serious case against him at this moment in time.

How Much Longer Can Cech Keep Going?

Source: Petr Cech via Facebook

Petr Cech is one of the great goalkeepers of the Premier League era, and has been plying his trade in England’s top flight since Chelsea signed him from Rennes in 2004. At 35 years old, it’s a wonder how long the Czech can carry on being Arsenal’s stalwart between the sticks, but for now at least, he’s showing no signs of stopping. The question is, can he emulate his Stamford Bridge success at the Emirates?

Cech played 333 games for Chelsea and became one of the legends of the Roman Abramovich era, alongside players like John Terry and Frank Lampard. However, during Jose Mourinho’s second spell at the London club, the Portuguese decided to bring in the younger Thibaut Courtois to be the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper. This meant that Cech only played a small part in the Premier League win of the 2014-15 season, which ended up being his last at the club. During his time in West London, the goalkeeper picked up four top-flight winners’ medals, lifted the FA Cup on four occasions, the League Cup three times, and was a key component of the Champions League winning team of the 2011-12 season.

When Mourinho relegated Cech to the bench, it seemed that the legend’s playing days may have been about to come to an end. But luckily for the player and for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger wisely snapped him up and installed him as the first choice shot-stopper at the Emirates. This has easily been one of the Frenchman’s greatest transfer decisions in recent years, as the 35-year-old has slotted in seamlessly and recaptured his best form in North London. The question is how long Cech can keep going for, and whether he can help guide the Gunners to success.

Now in his third season at Arsenal, Cech has managed to win the Community Shield twice in 2015 and 2017, along with the FA Cup at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. Whether Cech can claim silverware this term remains to be seen. Football tips have Arsenal as 100/1 outsiders to win the Premier League due to Manchester City’s domination of the division, but there is a chance that Wenger’s men may claim a prize in Europe. The Gunners topped their Europa League group by some margin, and are easily one of the stronger sides in the competition.

Since joining Arsenal, Cech has produced just over 35 clean sheet performances for the club and, in each season, has averaged over 2.2 saves per game. He is showing no signs of slowing down, and at this rate, he could easily be playing for the club for another five years.

Cech has the opportunity to improve on the legendary status he earned at Chelsea and become a hero for Arsenal. Goalkeepers have a tendency to stay in the game much longer than outfield players, with the likes of Edwin Van Der Sar, Shay Given, and David Seamen all playing past the age of 40. For the Gunners, it would be excellent news if Cech was able to follow in their footsteps.

Will the Addition of Cenk Tosun Help Allardyce Begin Writing Everton Legacy?

Source: Everton Football Club via Facebook

When Sam Allardyce signed Cenk Tosun in the January transfer window, Everton’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top six this season were slim. There was a 12-point gap between the Merseyside outfit and Arsenal in sixth, who are unlikely to give up that position and are hoping to climb. But there is a chance that Everton can end the season on a high, and finish as the best team outside of the big six. This would stand Allardyce in good stead to continue at the club for the foreseeable future and possibly begin to write his own legacy there.

Considering that Everton were facing a relegation battle in the early stages of the campaign when Ronald Koeman was at the helm, the turnaround under Allardyce has been extraordinary. The manager who has famously never overseen a side dumped out of the top flight arrested the Toffees’ decline immediately after arriving at Goodison Park. In Allardyce’s first seven games in charge across all competitions, Everton’s goal was only breached twice. The former Sunderland manager picked up vital wins against fellow basement-dwellers Newcastle United and Swansea City, and managed to hold top four hopefuls Liverpool and Chelsea to draws.

Since this dramatic upturn in form, Everton are now facing up the table rather than down, and are no longer considered among the Championship-threatened sides. It’s Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, and Swansea City who are now favoured for the drop and, at the time of writing, the Swans are odds-on at 10/11 in the football betting to finish rock bottom.

Now that Allardyce has seemingly already fulfilled his job as “Fireman Sam” with Everton out of the danger zone, the 63-year-old may be looking to build a legacy in the Northwest. He has frequently been seen as a saviour to clubs in the top flight, but rarely a long-term prospect. If he can get Everton playing some attractive football and winning a high proportion of games in the second half of the season, Farhad Moshiri may be wise to keep the Englishman at the helm in the next campaign.

This is where new signing Tosun should come in. The Toffees have been crying out for a prolific goal scorer since they sold Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for £75 million last summer. Since then, and prior to the arrival of the Turkish striker, Everton had only managed to notch 25 goals in the league – nine fewer than Leicester City who were one place above them.

Everton acquired Tosun from Besiktas for a reported £27 million, and if he managed to fill the big Belgian’s shoes it will be an excellent bit of business. Allardyce claims that the 26-year-old is the hottest property in Europe right now in that price bracket, and the Germany-born forward racked up 41 goals in 96 league appearances at his former club.

Toffees supporters will want to see their side continue to keep clean sheets, but also to impress at the other end of the pitch. Tosun has the potential to make an instant impact at Goodison and, if he manages to hit the ground running, could help to shape Allardyce’s long-term future at the club.