5 – Newcastle United’s Five Strangest Ever Signings


After a relatively successful 2015/16 summer transfer window (although arguably risky continental signings) we take a look back at our 5 strangest ever signings – a reminder that however good or bad Mitrovic, Wijnaldum & Mbemba may turn out to be, it could always be worse.

5. Stephen Ireland (2011, 6-month loan with view to permanent deal)

Stephen Ireland pictured playing for Aston Villa

Stephen Ireland pictured playing for Aston Villa

The still injured Stephen Ireland joined Chris Hughton’s NUFC on the final day of the January transfer window on loan after a slow start to his Aston Villa career. He eventually made his debut some 3 month later on the 19th April as a 65th minute substitute, proving to be 1 of only 2 appearances he’d make for the club. After just 2 appearances totaling 49 minutes of competitive football he was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury and returned to Villa. His stint wasn’t without controversy however, notably being pictured on a night out with team-mate Leon Best the night before a match.

Rating: 5/10 – Some promise, too many off-field headlines and too many injuries.

4. Giuseppe Rossi (2006, 6-month loan deal)

Rossi pictured endorsing the "FARE" campaign

Rossi pictured endorsing the “FARE” campaign

The Italian forward joined us as a rising prospect from the Manchester United academy on a 6-month loan deal at the start of the 06/07 campaign. He made his home debut on September 14th, 2006 against Portsmouth in a 3rd round FA Cup tie, netting his first and only goal for the club. He made 13 appearances in total before returning to Manchester United and ultimately being farmed back out to Parma. He ultimately went on to Villareal where he stayed for 5 years, making 192 appearances and netting 82 times.

Rating: 3.5/10 – Not cut out for Premier League football. Went on to bigger and better things abroad.

3. Facundo Ferreyra (2014-15, 12-month loan with view to permanent deal)

Mystery man Facundo Ferreyra

Mystery man Facundo Ferreyra

Ah, Facundo – the forgotten man. The Argentinian joined us from war-torn Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on a 1-year loan deal (reportedly on the recommendation from fellow countryman and captain Fabricio Coloccini). During which time he failed to make a single competitive appearance for the side, playing out the 14/15 campaign in the NUFC reserve side.

Rating: 2.5/10 – Promising young forward. Admitted himself he “struggled to adapt… It is a very physical league”

2. Shefki Kuqi (2011, free transfer)

The happiest footballer in the world. Image property of nufc.co.uk

The happiest footballer in the world. Image property of nufc.co.uk

The Finnish journeyman joined Newcastle on the 10th February 2011 on a contract for the remainder of the season to provide cover for a woefully thin strike-force in the wake of Andy Carroll’s last minute record-breaking £35m transfer. He himself said he was “surprised” at the move and was “one of the happiest footballers in the world” after the move. The affectionately named “Finnish-Flop” (with regards to his belly-flop celebration, although more aptly adhering to his form on Tyneside) made just 6 appearances for Newcastle, failing to net a single goal.

Rating: 1/10 – Past his best, nowhere near the standard required

1. Ignacio Maria Gonzales (2008-09, 12-month loan deal)

A rare sighting of NUFC winger Gonzales. Image property of Getty Images.

A rare sighting of NUFC winger Gonzales. Image property of Getty Images

Arguably one of the most controversial signings in our history, then Director of Football Dennis Wise reportedly signed him after watching only YouTube footage as a favour to an agent, a deal in which was deemed the final straw in Keegan’s Newcastle tenure. The Uruguay winger made only 2 appearances all season before returning to Valencia. a Premier League tribunal later confirmed in October 2009 that the loan signing had been against manager Kevin Keegan’s wishes, and was in breach of his contract, resulting in a compensation payout to the manager.

Rating: 1/10 – Arrived under controversial circumstances and failed to feature in a relegation-beckoned side.

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