30 July 1996. That was the day that Newcastle United broke the world record transfer fee as they forked out £15 million to bring Alan Shearer to St. James' Park from Blackburn Rovers.
Shearer went on to become the Premier League’s all-time record scorer and a legend at Newcastle. Nowadays things are different as Graham Carr and his scouting team work on bringing manager Alan Pardew top players for extremely small fees.
These five first-team players all came in for less than £5m pounds and if they ever leave will undoubtedly go for a lot more than that.
Dutch international Krul has been with Newcastle since 2005 when he moved from Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag after failing to agree professional terms with the club. Due to the nature of the transfer Newcastle were only required to pay a fee settled by a tribunal. The eventual figure that was settled on was a measly €220,000 and with recent reports suggesting Newcastle wouldn’t let Krul leave for anything under £10m, Krul can take his place as one of the club’s best deals.
After plying his trade in the reserves and out on loan with Falkirk and Carlisle, Krul has made the step up to the first-team and cemented his position as the club’s number one. With 15 clean sheets in the Premier League last season only Joe Hart produced more shutouts then Krul and although this season has been hampered by injury there can be no doubting Krul’s importance to his team.
The industrious Ivorian has become a real hit with the fans from day one following £3.5 move from FC Twente in 2010. The defensive midfielder is ruthless in the tackle and tireless in his work, two traits that greatly endure him to the Geordie faithful.
For the rest of us who don’t see Tiote he will almost certainly always live in the memory for his outstanding left foot volley from 25 yards to complete a remarkable comeback as Newcastle came from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal.
Rumours that Chelsea were chasing Tiote for around £15-20 million show how much he’s developed since joining Newcastle but he seems unlikely to leave anytime soon having agreed a contract extentsion until 2017.
It is telling that this season Newcastle have struggled so much when Cabaye hasn’t been fit and it is a testament to the Frenchman’s ability that he is seen as such a vital member of the team.
A strong tackler with an excellent passing range Cabaye really is a complete midfielder. When you add in his free-kick ability and general work rate it becomes harder and harder to believe that Newcastle were able to pick up Lille’s double winning star for just £4.3m.
Since joining, Cabaye has formed a devastating partnership with Tiote in the central midfield that has more than made up for the hole that existed following the departures of Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton.
Like Tiote, he too has been linked to European champions Chelsea and for a similar transfer fee. Newcastle’s performances this season when they have been missing Cabaye so far this season demonstrate that it is imperative they keep him at St. James' Park.
If Chelsea were looking at Tiote and Cabaye they must have been wishing they had signed Sissoko as Newcastle’s latest Frenchman scored a brace on his home debut to help the Toon overcome the London side 3-2.
Signed for an undisclosed fee, reportedly as little as £1.8m, Sissoko was out of contract in the summer but Alan Pardew knew he wanted his man now to avoid a frantic bidding war and it is already paying dividends.
Weighing with both goals and assists the presence of Sissoko in the Newcastle midfield has relieved the pressure on the influential Cabaye and given him more room to roam.
Along with Tiote the three seem to have formed a good understanding already in such a short space of time and Newcastle fans must be hoping they stay together for some time.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Frustrating at times, brilliant at others. You never quite know what you’re going to get from Hatem Ben Arfa but if you don’t know you can be sure the opposition won’t be ready.
Direct, quick and with very clever dribbling skills, Ben Arfa is a defender’s worst nightmare when he gets going. He has the ability to ghost past players like they’re not and strike from 25-yards with minimal back lift.
Successful if not controversial spells with Lyon and Marseille in France led Ben Arfa to Newcastle where, after an initial loan signing, he was permanently brought in as Pardew's first permanent signing.
The silky winger has already won over the fans at St. James' Park and opposition managers will regularly cite Ben Arfa as one of the danger men before matches.
Like Cabaye, Ben Arfa’s contributions this season have been limited because of injury and unfortunately it looks like he could miss the rest of the season following surgery on a hamstring injury. It is a huge blow for Newcastle both in the league and in Europe.
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