Early in the summer, in a time that feels so long ago, Newcastle were linked with the likes of Moussa Dembele, Jerome Boateng and even Kylian Mbappe.
But with the failed takeover of a Saudi backed group that would’ve made the Magpies one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, the supporters were brought back down to earth and faced the reality of at least another season under Mike Ashley’s ownership.
Yet things didn’t turn out anywhere near as badly as expected. Ashley may still be unprepared to spend fees anything close to Newcastle’s rivals, but Steve Bruce was given sufficient funds and freedom this summer to make significant additions to his squad.
The club has made some overdue quality additions that have brought a sense of hope and optimism to St James’ Park that has been absent for over a decade.
Newcastle struggled at left back last season and have for quite some time. Lewis is an established international with Northern Ireland who impressed throughout his debut Premier League campaign with Norwich last season. He’s a serious improvement on their previous options, is exciting to watch, and at 22 years old will only get better.
Joelinton’s £40m move from Hoffenheim last summer hasn’t worked out, so Bruce was desperate for a proven Premier League goalscorer this time around. He’s certainly secured himself one of those as Wilson has hit the ground running in the north east, scoring four goals in his first four league games. The only concern surrounding the 28-year-old is his injury record, but if he can stay off the sidelines, the former Bournemouth man should be a great addition.
Signing Hendrick on a free from Burnley after being linked with Mbappe just about summed Newcastle up under Ashley, but snapping up the Republic of Ireland international for nothing is actually a very astute move. He’s started every league game so far this season, scoring on his debut against West Ham, and should add some steel and energy to the Magpies’ midfield.
Linking Wilson with old Bournemouth teammate Wilson was a no-brainer for Bruce, especially as Fraser was available on a free after running his contract down at Bournemouth. The diminutive winger combined often with Wilson and enjoyed his best term with the Cherries in 2018/19, providing 14 assists and scoring seven goals. If he can replicate that sort of form for Newcastle he’ll be a fan favourite before too long.
Newcastle’s number one goalkeeper Martin Dubravka suffered a long-term injury on the eve of the new campaign, so the St James’ Park outfit were forced into the market for another shot-stopper. Gillespie arrived from Scottish Premiership outfit Motherwell after keeping 11 clean sheets in 30 league games last season. He’s had a decent start to life in England, managing two shutouts in three Carabao Cup games.
Colback was released by Newcastle after six years with the club. The former Sunderland midfielder had spent the last two seasons on loan with Nottingham Forest and made his move permanent there this summer. The 30-year-old is better suited to Championship football and Bruce has done the right thing getting Colback’s wages off the books.
Woodman is a highly-rated young goalkeeper who could have a big future at Newcastle. The 23-year-old has had multiple loans over the last few years and has found himself at Swansea for the 2020/21 season. Working under Steve Cooper for a year could be perfect for his progress, but after Dubravka’s injury, Bruce may regret letting Woodman leave.
Muto’s move to England never worked out and a transfer away from the north east was in the best interests of all involved. The Japan international only managed a measly two goals in 28 appearances for Newcastle, and although a permanent transfer would’ve been ideal, a loan is better than nothing and gives Muto the chance to rebuild his career and improve his market value.
Lejeune suffered several serious injuries while playing for Newcastle but did pretty well when he was on the pitch. Magpies fans may feel his departure should have been offset by the arrival of a new centre half, especially after they were linked with a loan move for Arsenal‘s Rob Holding for much of the summer.
23-year-old midfielder Barlaser enjoyed a loan spell with Rotherham United last season, helping the Millers to promotion from League One. He joined the side from south Yorkshire on a permanent deal worth £250,000 this summer but has yet to feature in the league for Paul Warne’s side. He wasn’t good enough to make the grade at Newcastle, and Bruce has received a fair price for the academy graduate.
Newcastle’s Overall Transfer Grade – Summer 2020: B
Ok, so Newcastle didn’t end up signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Mbappe, but it’s fair to say they made a number of astute, if not particularly blockbuster signings.
Each player brought into the senior squad has previous Premier League experience, while the Longstaff brothers have been retained. All in all, it was a slightly above average window for the Magpies.