Dietmar Hamann believes that Newcastle United have a reputation amongst players as a stepping stone club - and it's partly his own fault.
Under Mike Ashley, players are seemingly bought with just one criteria - could they have a high re-sale value? And in return, the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Demba Ba and Loic Remy have left for the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain within three years.
As Newcastle sit 19th in the Premier League with a squad that looks strong on paper but underperforms almost every week, it's claimed that the players visibly don't try and there's no desire to win matches.
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Hamann thinks the club should be careful about encouraging a revolving door policy. Per the Chronicle, he said: “With a club like Newcastle I think now they’ve lost Alan Shearer, and they had one or two home-grown players in the past, once you haven’t got that any more you’ve got to be careful that you don’t create a culture there where people come, and then go," he said.
“I’m probably at fault for exactly that because I was there for a year and then I moved on."
At least Hamann is aware of his role in this. After arriving on Tyneside from Bayern Munich in 1998, the German international joined Gerard Houllier's Liverpool 12 months later for £8 million. The 42-year-old went on to win two FA Cups, two League Cups, a UEFA Cup and a Champions League trophy in a seven-year spell at Anfield before joining Manchester City.
He continued: "You’ve got to be careful not to get a tag where people say: ‘Well, if I want to get to Liverpool, if I want to get to Man United, if I wanted to get to Chelsea, if I take the route via Newcastle, have six to 12 good months, or two years, and then I’m off.
“So I think it’s very important, even more so for that team [Newcastle] than a team in Manchester or London, that they bring through two or three home-grown players to really have that identity and somebody the punters are connected to.
“That’s been missing – the further north you go, the more important it gets. The fans have that bond with the team and the players.”
Of the current squad, it's easy to see which players want to move upwards. Moussa Sissoko constantly talks about playing Champions League football when his Newcastle displays range from shocking to decent. Georginio Wijnaldum, Daryl Janmaat and Ayoze Perez are destined for bigger things but first of all they need to drag the Magpies to Premier League safety.
Newcastle fans: Do you agree with Hamann's comments? Is this 'stepping stone' culture a big factor in the club's on-pitch woes? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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