Thereâ€™s news in lots of the Sunday papers today on Newcastle United, and as usual it doesnâ€™t seem to be too good, if you take it at face value.
Michael Owen – reduced contract at Newcastle?
Before we go much further on this let’s always remember that the gossip press loves doom and gloom and sensational things, which are even better for selling if they are really negative.
With that level set let’s review what the papers this morning are saying.
The major news is that quite a few papers are reporting that Newcastleâ€™s wage bill it too high, and needs to be cut.
We had heard that several weeks ago, and it seems that of the total costs each season at the club, which are around Â£90M, the wage bill is Â£70M â€“ which is about 78% of the total cost.
As we mentioned yesterday, one way to reduce the bill is to get rid of players, who are either not good enough, or highly paid but not worth it.
This would include players like Carr, Ramage, Rozehnal, Ameobi, Troisi, Diatta and Smith. We can also add Charles Nâ€™Zogbia to that list, since he still seems to still want to move to London. Of course most of these would then need to be replaced, since our squad is still small.
The disturbing news today is that the reduction in the wage bill could affect Michael Owen and Steven Taylor. Both of their existing contracts run out next summer and need to be renegotiated soon.
Owen is said to be on a massive contract of around Â£110K â€“ Â£115K/week, negotiated of course by the previous regime at the club, and the news being reported freely today, is that he will need to take a pay cut to stay at Newcastle.
The pay cut would limit his wages to around Â£80K/week, which is at least close to the Â£2M/year cut reported yesterday (Â£40K/week). So there may be some logic or thread of truth there – maybe.
Some news also says that Ashley will introduce a wage cap on all players of Â£80K/week, so Michael would be getting the top wage of anybody at the club.
Other clubs like Tottenham and Arsenal have different types of wage caps, or at least some restrictions on the total wage bill.
Of course there is news all over that Michael will not accept the contract, and will just let his contract run down and move on a free transfer next summer. He has every right to do this of course.
If we cannot agree with Owen on a new contract, then we should probably sell him this summer, to at least get something. That’s from the club’s side of things.
But if this course of events happens, Keegan is unlikely to be happy with the situation at Newcastle.
But letâ€™s not over-react too much to the news, since this is the gossip press. We have no idea if it is true, or that some possibly some exceptions may be made for our very best players.Â We’ve already renegotiated a contract for Nicky Butt, and there seemed to be no problems there, so these reports may be a little (or a lot) over the top.
We should know within a couple of weeks if there are indeed problems with the new contracts being offered by the club.
Let’s hope there isn’t.