Sat 4 Nov 2023, 09:58 · Ash Harrison

Paul Merson has now praised Newcastle for not being ‘lazy’ in their player recruitment

Paul Merson has now praised Newcastle for not being ‘lazy’ in their player recruitment
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Paul Merson has suddenly been very pro-Newcastle and we're not quite sure what to make of it.

We are so used to Paul Merson using any stick at hand to beat Newcastle with that when he actually comes out with compliments it's hard to take, but he's done it again.

Newcastle come up against Arsenal this weekend, the club that Merse represented for 12 years, so you'd expect his bias to lean towards the Gunners.

That may well be the case, but in his latest column for Sky Sports, he has actually been singing the praises of Newcastle.

Anthony gordon 1
Serena Taylor via Getty Images
Paul Merson says that Anthony Gordon is improving week on week

Merson has written about the fantastic job that Eddie Howe has done, and gone on to praise Anthony Gordon saying that he's improving week on week, but he has been mostly impressed by the way Newcastle have gone about their player recruitment.

“The new owners have not just come in and bought superstar after superstar to rock the boat. They have brought in quality players like Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak. There are not many players that have come in and flopped. Anthony Gordon is also one that is improving week on week.

“They could have got lazy and just spent a load of money on big-time players, bringing in £100m, £120m players with the money they have. They didn't and they have looked at players to suit the way they want to play. You cannot talk highly enough about the recruitment at the club and you can't say that about every club in the Premier League.”

Financial Fair Play has been a big factor in Newcastle's recruitment strategy, for sure, but Dan Ashworth and Eddie Howe seem to be on the same page when it comes to what type of player to bring in.

Both men seem to favour bringing in a younger player with world-class potential that they can help to mould. They don't recruit stars, they create them.

Ultimately it's much more satisfying for everyone. The excitement of signing a Kylian Mbappe would be huge, and it would be fun for sure, but taking an Anthony Gordon who everyone could see had potential that wasn't being used, and turning them into an absolute star, that's something special.

Even if FFP was scrapped tomorrow, we'd still hope that Newcastle would continue with that strategy.