Newcastle United set to be rewarded for their transfer market tenacity this week, but what next? – John Gibson

27 June 2022 - 6:10 am


Newcastle have become the Duracell Bunnies of the transfer market. They are prepared to run further, last longer, and be more passionately persistent than virtually all competitors in pursuit of their targets.

The big money signing of Sven Botman after a seven-month slog to prise him from under the nose of Italian giants AC Milan will bring the signings of United’s new owners to eight and counting as they accelerate the rebuilding of a historic club. Botman is set to join Nick Pope in the SJP stables with patience indeed being a virtue in what became a marathon in comparison to the sprint for Pope.

More hurdles have been overcome than there are at Aintree but now at long, long last it seems Botman is about to undergo a medical and put ink to the paper. Of course United’s new owners are the masters of patience.

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Remember how long they waited in the wings rather than storm off in a huff when the Premier League prevented their takeover at every turn. Then Dan Ashworth was another slow burner so no one should be surprised that they pitched up and dug in over Botman.

Mind, you can only wait so long for a bus before you get sick and fork out for a taxi. Hanging around like an empty milk bottle on a step has to end eventually for the sake of your sanity. Are you listening Hugo Ekitike and agent?

Do not take United’s generosity and persistence for granted guys. Business is business.

Will Botman prove to have been worth waiting for? United passionately believe so from Eddie Howe through to Steve Nickson. They all committed as one to him.

The Dutchman is the epitome of a defender who loves to defend, towerblock tall maybe and thus strong in the air but unflustered, comfortable on the ball, and an excellent reader of the game extremely aware of his position to anticipate the ball being played towards different parts of the pitch. The centre of United’s defence looks like being turned into the land of jolly giants.

Botman is touching 6ft 5in tall while January signing Dan Burn tops even that at 6ft 6in. What I will find intriguing is how Howe might attempt to pair them together if that is his intention given both are predominantly left footed and their position of preference is left side of a pairing or threesome.

Five signings arrived in January and upon the completion of Botman’s deal three more will have come in so far during this window of opportunity with Matt Targett considered so good United signed him twice! Overall it’s been very impressive so what next?

While a wide player is viewed as significant, a striker remains the stand-out need be it another Duracell Bunny effort coming to fruition after a persistent drive for Ekitike or a rapid change of direction to clinch a more uncomplicated target. Chris Wood is the one signing who has failed to live up to the high standards of the others and this time United need a healthy goals return for their outlay.

However much commendable effort Wood showed during United’s revival last season two goals (one a penalty) from 17 appearances was scant reward for shelling out £25m.

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