Last summer we failed to improve the quality of the over all squad though we did improve the first eleven. Can we afford to make the same mistake this year?

None of us knows exactly how much money Sam Allardyce will have to wheel and deal this summer but if comments by Steve Parish on Sky are anything to go by then it could be in the region of £60m in order to avoid the mistakes of last summer.

As we know Financial Fair Play rules are in operation so we can’t just go out and blow £100m like some supporters think we can. They hear that the TV deal can bring in up to £200m a season so that must be what we have to spend. They hear that we have rich investors so why can’t they buy players? It just isn’t that simple!

Investors can put money into the club if they do not want to get it back. So they can gift the club money but not lend it if it is to go on transfers. Our investors are just that, they want a return on their money!

So why can’t we use the TV money to buy players? Because that money is ring fenced to go into the youth academy, stadium upgrades and so on. It isn’t allowed to go on wages or transfer fees so that if a club is relegated they don’t have a mountain of unsustainable payments to make.

Every club can only spend what they can generate through the turnstiles which is why Newcastle could spend £80m last season, they get 50,000 a game. We need to increase our capacity if we are to be able to spend more money on players.

With that out of the way it explains why Steve Parish said the level of spending this season can’t go on. It just isn’t sustainable under FFP which is why I think we’ll have £60m at the most to spend. If true that will mean no money in January!

We could raise more money by selling players but, let’s be honest, the players we want to sell have little value! Some players will leave because their contracts are up so we’ll have to replace them with no money coming back in.

Here’s who I think will stay, might leave and will leave this summer. I am not sure who is out of contract.

Will Stay Might Leave Will Leave
Julián Speroni (signed new deal)
Wayne Hennessey
Steve Mandanda
Joel Ward
Patrick van Aanholt
James Tomkins
Scott Dann
Jeffrey Schlupp
Damien Delaney (signed new deal)
Pape Souaré
Martin Kelly
Zeki Fryers Mamadou Sakho (loan expired)
Andros Townsend
Wilfried Zaha
Jason Puncheon
Luka Milivojevic
Sullay Kaikai*
Hiram Boateng*
James McArthur
Joe Ledley
Bakary Sako
Yohan Cabaye
Jonny Williams
Lee Chung-yong
Jordon Mutch
Mathieu Flamini (out of contract)
Connor Wickham
Jonathan Benteke*
Christian Benteke
Keshi Anderson*
Freddie Ladapo
Fraizer Campbell Loïc Rémy (loan expired)
Kwesi Appiah
22 players (* U21 players) 6 players 7 players

So, presuming that we have £60m to spend and knowing that you don’t get much for under £10m we have a predicament.

Right off the bat we need to replace two loan players in Sakho and Remy plus Flamini who is out of contract. I’d love us to sign Sakho but if it is for £30m the maths don’t add up for us.

Presuming that better quality players will cost more than the players we are going to sell that would mean £30m to replace at least 4 players, possibly 10 players.

I think we could raise another £15m from selling the players who are in the might leave and will leave columns, maybe £20 if Cabaye does go.

Do we take a chance on youth? Whenever I’ve seen Boateng he’s looked a good prospect, Kaikai gets good reviews but is it the right time? Given how we have struggled at the end of games would Big Sam risk throwing on youth players to see out a game?

Of course we don’t know what is going to happen but speculating is part of the fun.

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