Newcastle United's £25 million transfer budget
The departure list is a long one on Tyneside, and if reports are to be believed, Magpies gaffer Joe Kinnear may be set to offload as many as five senior players in order to raise finances for signings in the January transfer window.
The St. James' Park club are yet to receive any significant contribution for transfers from owner Mike Ashley, and Joe Kinnear has been slapped with a sell-before-you-buy directive. With mounting interest in several of his stars, the manager has no choice but to give in to his financial constraints and recoup whatever he can to strengthen a squad plagued by injuries and lack of form.
Shay Given may be set to complete a £12m move to Manchester City, Charles N'Zogbia is at the centre of a £8m tug-of-war between Aston Villa, and Tottenham, while Joey Barton has been linked with a £4m move to Portsmouth, as Geremi's £1m transfer to Turkish club Besiktas looms in the background. The fifth player is thought to be youngster Andy Carroll, after Spaniard Xisco's move back to his homeland was hampered by FA regulations. The grand total, even without Carroll's transfer, equals a reasonable war chest of £25 million.
The question is, who should Kinnear aim to buy? The Newcastle gaffer has been linked with a host of players in the transfer window so far: John-Joe O`Toole (Watford), Michael Kightly (Wolves), Fabian Delph (Leeds), Kevin Dolye (Reading), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Joe Ledley (Cardiff), Kyle Naughton (Sheffield United), Stephen Quinn (Sheffield United), , Paddy Kenny (Sheffield United), Leighton Baines (Everton), Stephen Warnock (Blackburn), Barry Ferguson (Rangers), Madjid Bougherra (Rangers), Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Urby Emanuelson (Ajax), Loic Remy (Nice), and Vegard Forren (Molde), among a galaxy of others.
Only time will tell what will happen on Tyneside, but most fans feel that they have been once again betrayed by their owner, and that the sacrifice of several of the club's stars, aside from unsettled Frenchman Charles N'Zogbia, may be unwarranted.