There were more than a few people who feared for Newcastle’s safety once the transfer window slammed shut at the end of January, despite the club shelling out an eye-watering £85 million on five new players. This was a sentiment that was not only felt around the Premier League but also shared in Tyneside with the Geordie faithful anxiously pondering how successful their new recruits would be.
In essence, the latest football news articles all pointed towards these new arrivals as being workhorses and far from flamboyant and, if anything, it would be a painful and nerve-wracking slog to the Premier League finish line in late May.
Six weeks on from the January transfer market shutting and Newcastle have, for all intents and purposes, broken the back of their survival bid after recording five wins in six games as we arrive in mid-March. There can be little doubt – the January signings have been a stunning success.
In particular, the most influential signing has been Dan Burn, who arrived from Brighton at the end of January for a fee of £13 million. It was a similar story at first with the 6ft 7in defender not creating much fanfare after putting pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal. As far as Burn was considered, however, this was the opportunity of a lifetime having been born in Blyth and then growing up a devout Newcastle fan. Simply put, the defensive giant was going to make sure his time at St James’ Park was a resounding success.
Burn certainly hasn’t failed in his quest to prove that he is one of the Toon’s most valuable players and a recent 2-1 win against Brighton illustrated just how significant the 29-year-old’s contribution has been. Perhaps the best way of putting it is that since Burn left the South Coast, Brighton has played six matches and lost five. However, after joining Newcastle, the Toon have played five games and won four. There’s nothing coincidental about those astonishing stats; Burn has almost single-handedly shored up the Geordie defence and helped avert a relegation disaster. Indeed, despite being odds-on for relegation on Christmas day, Eddie Howe’s men now find themselves priced at a truly staggering 16/1 to go down.
In fact, Newcastle is on such an impressive run that a top-half finish looks to be a legitimate possibility. They’re currently priced at odds of just 12/1 to achieve this feat according to Bet365, one of many featured sportsbooks offering the best free bet codes on the sports betting market. Now, whilst that price may seem high, it is dropping every week with the Toon now only a mere handful of points from tenth place. Punters who feel that a top-half finish is indeed viable should place their wagers now: if Howe’s men really do gatecrash the top ten, it’ll be an even sweeter success with a payout.
It should be stressed that there are no free hits when looking at any Premier League fixture list, but now that momentum is finally on Newcastle’s side, they look well placed to carry on this inspired run of form until the late spring.
Newcastle have hit the target with their January signings
Another key point to make with regards to Newcastle’s newfound strength and depth going forward is that, whilst Burn has been the talismanic figure leading the defensive line at St James’ Park, there have also been notable contributions from Kieran Trippier and Matt Target, who both also joined in January. Trippier, who now faces a brief spell on the sidelines after breaking his foot, has been a revelation since departing from Atletico Madrid after chipping in with two majestic set-piece goals in his four appearances.
Targett has been equally as impressive after giving Howe an incredibly assured option at left-back. The 26-year-old has shown such composure after arriving at St James’ Park that there is now a deafening clamour for his loan move to be made permanent in the summer.
One can probably conclude that Targett’s time on Tyneside is emblematic of the mood around Newcastle since the transfer window closed. Indeed, a feeling of overwhelming indifference has turned into a complete love affair.