Newcastle United are struggling this season, no two ways about it. Sitting 10th in the Premier League and knocked out of European football and the Carabao Cup, Eddie Howe's side seem well of the pace.
Newcastle United should write off this season and save for summer haul
Of course, many fans will remember back to the Mike Ashley days of relegation battles and a couple of seasons down in the Championship, and will see this campaign as still a success. And while that's true, Newcastle fans now need to look to the future, and mid-table finishes aren't enough to satisfy our ambitious owners, and they shouldn't be enough to satisfy us.
So with being half way through the January transfer window, and being in the predicament we find ourselves in, the rumour mill has been more active than normal. Reports of us selling Bruno Guimaraes to satisfy FPP, as well as countless reports of signing short-term loan or out of contract players to turn this season around.
But what is needed to propel ourselves back up the table. We've been hit by a plague of injuries, so getting some of these key missing pieces back will help the puzzle. And it seems to be that the team aren't playing with the same confidence they had last season.
Last season, the players walked on to any pitch thinking, we can beat these today. No matter the opposition. Now it seems we're scared. The loss to Manchester City is a perfect example of this, and you could see it playing out in real time.
We started the game worried, sat back, let them have everything, and they score. Finally, we gain some belief and go out and grab a couple of goals in as many minutes by taking the game to them. Then the second half was back to sitting back, hoping they won't score, scared of their prowess.
Clearly, it's more than this, but in a nutshell, if we can get these players back, and regain some composure, we'll start to see results coming through.
And new short-term signings won't change this. In fact, we have experience of players being bought who can take up to six months to aclimatise to Howe's way of playing. Anthony Gordon as a prime example, Lewis Hall who is seemingly lacking that slight quality.
So why do we think that now, the short-term loan deal of Kalvin Phillips would solve all our problems?
In addition to this train of thought, we need to consider FFP and the Premier League's own profit and sustainability rules. Everton and Nottingham Forest have been charged with breaches in the past 24 hours, and given the punishment the former has already faced, it's clear the league means business.
We can't risk getting into that sort of trouble. If you think finishing 8th in the Premier League (a good target in my opinion) is bad, imagine finishing 4th, but dropping out of Europe because you've been docked points. I'd rather the first option.
So why tie up spend this January for a short-term solution? Bringing Kalvin Phillips in won't get us into Europe, but will mean we have £30-50m less to spend in the summer on long-term, ambitious targets. The same with David De Gea. He won't bring us success this year, but his salary could be the difference in being able to afford a top quality player like Ousmane Diomande who could stay with us for years.
That for me, doesn't make sense.
At the end of the season we'll be seeing more revenue streams open up through wider sponsorship, as well as the income from the Adidas deal that begins next season. We'll have the cash available to spend bigger, and target long-term solutions to continue to grow.
So we should forget this month, forget this season. Finish mid-table, but continue growing the project. Champions League last year was a fluke, but it's the target for coming seasons. Let's not jeopardise that for the sake of a couple of extra points in a season where, ultimately, it won't mean anything.