Newcastle United’s very modest net spend over the last decade or so has been a constant source of frustration among supporters in the North-East. Remarkably, the signing of Michael Owen for £16.8 million way back in 2005 stood as the biggest fee ever forked out by the six-time FA Cup winners ... until last January.
The club has suffered two relegations from the Premier League in the last 10 years, finding themselves in a relegation scrap once more this term, and it is their willingness to sell their best players and lack of ambition in the transfer market that many fans feel is to blame for that lack of success.
Here are Newcastle United’s 7 most lucrative player sales: Where are they now?
7. Andros Townsend - Crystal Palace
An immensely popular figure during his very brief spell at St James’ Park, Andros Townsend has often been linked with a return to Newcastle United, particularly when he wasn’t getting a lot of game time at Crystal Palace. The former England and Tottenham man joined Newcastle for £12 million in January 2016, but despite his impressive displays, Rafa Benitez was unable to guide the team out of the relegation zone. Crystal Palace subsequently triggered Townsend’s release clause of £13 million, and that figure is enough to put him in this seven over the likes of Florian Thauvin, Demba Ba and James Milner. Townsend has recently had an upturn in form at Palace, scoring an absolute wonder goal in their shock victory over Manchester City. Booed by Toon supporters last weekend ... but many of them would love to have him back.
6. Jonathan Woodgate - Middlesbrough Coach
Taking us back almost 15 years to the summer of 2004, Jonathan Woodgate left Newcastle United in a £13.4 million move to Real Madrid. Woodgate’s time in Madrid is often mocked and derided, thanks in no small part to a dreadful debut in which he scored an own goal and was subsequently sent off, but the Englishman was no laughing stock. An excellent centre-back at his best, Woodgate didn’t look out of place when he got a run of games at the Bernabeu, he just fell victim to a string of unfortunate injuries. Having retired from the playing side of the game two-and-a-half years ago, Woodgate is now working as a first team coach under Tony Pulis at Middlesbrough.
5. Yohan Cabaye - Free Agent
Another player who left Newcastle United for a side competing in the Champions League, Yohan Cabaye was brilliant in his two-and-a-half years at Newcastle United. A classy central midfielder who pulled the strings in the Magpies midfield under Alan Pardew, the French international departed for PSG in January of 2014. That deal was worth £19 million, and Cabaye never really became a mainstay in Laurent Blanc’s side. He returned to England with Crystal Palace in 2015, but after three seasons and over 100 appearances, he joined Arabian Gulf League outfit Al-Nasr last summer. Al-Nasr have had an awful start to the season though, and Cabaye was recently released, meaning he’s now a free agent.
4. Georginio Wijnaldum - Liverpool
A man who was a little bit hit and miss during his single season at St James’ Park, when Wijnaldum was on it, he was really on it, memorably scoring four goals in a single game for Newcastle against Norwich. Despite his inconsistencies, Wijnaldum ended the season as Newcastle’s top scorer, and Jurgen Klopp had seen enough to sign the Dutchman for an initial £23 million and a potential £25 million. It has proved to be a smart piece of business, and now playing in a more box-to-box role with increased defensive responsibility, Wijnaldum is an important player at Anfield.
3. Aleksandar Mitrovic - Fulham
Another player who divides opinion among Newcastle United fans, a number of supporters felt that Mitrovic was a liability in terms of his discipline who never showed much in a Newcastle shirt. There is also a large cross-section of the club’s supporters who found it utterly dumbfounding that they would sell a striker who was bang in-form given the club’s obvious weakness in that area themselves.
Mitrovic cost Fulham an initial £22 million and a potential £27 million, but he is their best chance of staying in the Premier League this season, and there are reports that the club turned down a £50 million bid from China this January.
2. Moussa Sissoko - Tottenham
Newcastle United fans were somewhat stunned when the club managed to get £30 million for their wantaway French international midfielder Moussa Sissoko in the summer of 2016, and for two seasons, their delight at the deal was understandable. However, it’s long been known that there was a talented footballer in there, and this season Mauricio Pochettino is finally getting the best out of his leggy box-to-box midfield player. Sissoko has been a new man this season, bossing the middle of the park and putting in a number of impressive displays against top class opposition.
1. Andy Carroll - West Ham
Despite having flogged a number of their star assets in recent years, it is still the £35 million sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool in January 2011 which stands as Newcastle’s record sale. Unlike with Sissoko, there are still no signs that Newcastle were wrong to take the money and run when it came to Carroll. The big frontman had helped the Magpies win promotion from the Championship, and he made a brilliant start to the following season. Interest was understandable, but Liverpool’s eye-watering bid raised eyebrows throughout the footballing world. Thankfully for the Reds, they also signed Luis Suarez that January, who turned out to be sensational, but Carroll lasted just one full season. Liverpool managed to recoup £19 million for the big target man, and now aged 30 and very injury prone, Carroll is still with West Ham.