So would most footballers run the real risk of being relegated to earn a massive pay raise by joining Newcastle in January?
Yes, of course they would. Because money is king – in football as in everything else.
Turn down the chance of a massive contract in the New Year and you may never get the chance again.
Newcastle are not expected to stand still for long. If they’re upset with you in January, they could avoid relegation and move on to bigger and better things by next summer.
Then you may have lost the best chance you ever had to protect your family’s future.
I’m sick of hearing that one footballer or another has moved “for the money”. As if that wasn’t a major motivation for anyone moving their workplace.
Like most people, I watched the Weird and Wonderful Squid Game on Netflix.
For the uninitiated, this is a bunch of indebted people willing to risk their lives for a bunch of money.
SPECIAL BET – GET MAN UTD TO BEAT MAN CITY AT 70/1
And while this is a crazy, wacky, brutal story, it basically works because we all accept the rule of thumb – that most people are heavily motivated by money.
Now I’m not comparing signing for Newcastle to being in Squid Game – and playing in the Championship isn’t a death sentence, I can assure you!
But most players would take a huge pay rise to sign for the richest club in the world even if they know relegation is a real possibility – it’s a calculated risk.
Especially since it is a monumental club, rather than a smaller one that has suddenly been enriched with new owners.
If I imagine that my young self is put in this position, I would have liked to join Newcastle. I wish I was the next Alan Shearer.
Because while there has been a lot of talk that Geordie fans are tough and demanding, there is also a lot of warmth and love for the players if they are successful there.
And the players all have an ego. Newcastle are currently six points behind on safety and by January they could be even further behind.
But if you’re a good player, you’ll always want to make a difference.
Many current Newcastle players may know deep in their hearts that, if things go as planned for the club, they won’t be good enough to make the first team in a year or two.
But that won’t affect the way they play because, believe me, very few footballers think a year or two later.
It’s a short-term deal now. I was an exception to the rule by spending ten years in Watford.
Very few stay that long, and players will only ever think about the next six or 12 months. You don’t make long term plans in this game.
So they won’t think, “I’m not going to be part of this new project for long.”
They will know that their performance levels for the rest of the season can decide what kind of movement they can get next.
Or maybe, if they excel, they’ll be part of Newcastle’s rise for a bit longer.
I don’t think Newcastle have a bad team at all. Players like Callum Wilson, Allan Saint Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey are real talents – and they stayed on their feet quite comfortably last season, thanks to a solid finish.
They just need more structure and identity.
Newcastle are expected to avoid relegation again, especially as they are sure to strengthen in January.
But the next few weeks are crucial for them – especially their next three home league games against Brentford, Norwich and Burnley.
Win two or three of them and things start to look rosier. If they don’t, then they have a horrible series of devices leading up to the New Year and the situation could turn grim.
Whatever happens, there will be no immediate transformation and instant success.
Eddie Howe would be an interesting appointment as a manager – he had a reputation for producing good passing football at Bournemouth which will appeal to Toon’s army.
But I’m not sure they have the players on this team to play at the back.
They will have to sign central defenders and full or full backs with an attacking spirit.
Longer term, it will be years, not months, before Newcastle can attract real elite players.
Much of this has to do with their training ground, which falls short of modern Premier League standards.
In elite sport, from the Premier League to the NFL, from the NBA to Formula 1, infrastructure is essential.
I’m sure a lot of people underestimate the importance of the training ground. But as a footballer, this is where you spend the vast majority of your professional life and this environment is crucial for how you feel and how you play.
The quality of the facilities and support staff – from masseuses to sports scientists and dieticians – is essential in attracting world-class players.
Newcastle new owners know that building a new training center is a top priority.
But, in the short term, they will attract very good players with a lot of money.
?? Read our Live blog on football news for the latest rumors, gossip and closed deals