Wijnaldum proves that Newcastle must concentrate on securing proven talent

The midfielder has been a sensation on Tyneside following his summer move, proving that class comes at a cost.

Georginio Wijnaldum has hit the ground running in the North-East and is Newcastle’s top scorer with seven goals in 15 appearances, including two assists.

As then captain of Dutch champions PSV, many outsiders were shocked that Toon owner Mike Ashley would stump up nearly £15 million to take Wijnaldum to Tyneside - as covered by the BBC - given his past, frugal reputation.

The retail billionaire has only ever spent moderately in his time, usually with a similar amount coming into the club through outgoing transfers.

Yet the purchase of Wijnaldum is behind only strikers Alan Shearer (£15 million, 1996) and Michael Owen (£16.8 million, 2005) in terms of record transfer fees paid at Newcastle. Both were signed under previous chairman, Freddy Shepherd.

Although the impact of Owen may still be argued by Geordies to this day, there is no denying that all three share something in common - pedigree. Newcastle knew what they were buying when they sought out Shearer and Owen, two world class, ruthless goal scorers with the stats to prove it.

Wijnaldum is the current Dutch Footballer of the Year and lead PSV to their first domestic title since 2008, winning 29 of their 34 matches in the process. The same PSV squad has become the first Dutch side in nearly a decade to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. He has also won two Dutch Cups.

The number 10 has seamlessly settled in to life in the Premier League, where other summer signings have failed.

It shouldn’t shock anyone that buying talent with a proven history will almost always pay immediate dividends.

The rest of Newcastle’s £50 million summer spend went on striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, winger Florian Thauvin, and defender Chancel Mbemba.

Congolese centre-back Mbemba has impressed in spurts but is yet to maintain the consistency shown by Wijnaldum. The same could be said for Mitrovic, who has three league goals to his name but has been an unused substitute for the past two games after a dip in form.

Thauvin has floundered since joining from Marseille. The lightweight winger has failed to demonstrate he can cut it among England’s elite, constantly losing the ball and unable to hold defenders off.

All three are under 23-years-old and have come from essentially weaker leagues in Belgium and France. They are unproven at top level and the current holes in their game are exposed in the Premier League.

There is, of course, a benefit to buying young talent and it’s clear that chief scout Graham Carr and MD Lee Charnley feel that their potential can blossom into big bucks given time.

But that doesn’t help Newcastle in the present day as they struggle to survive against relegation for another year.

For a club that revealed a record £19 million profit in March of this year, as per BBC Sport, it has grossly underspent in years gone by and flirted with danger in the process. There are funds available to make serious bids for quality players, within reason.

These are the sort of players who can make a similar impact to Wijnaldum and collectively catapult Newcastle to safety.

With a record £5.14 billion television rights deal set to take effect in August 2016, giving Newcastle £10.19 million per televised game, it’s imperative Ashley, Charnley, McClaren and Carr come together to secure the club's spot in next year’s Premier League.

If that means spending more for better players in January and beyond, so be it.

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