Newcastle paying more than £100,000-a-week on players no longer at club

Dwight Gayle - Newcastle paying more than £100,000-a-week on players no longer at club - GETTY IMAGES
Dwight Gayle - Newcastle paying more than £100,000-a-week on players no longer at club - GETTY IMAGES

Newcastle United are still paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a month to cover the wages of players who are no longer at the club.

The deals were agreed over the summer when the board realised they had to take drastic measures to trim the first-team squad after manager Eddie Howe made it clear several high earners were no longer part of his plans.

The situation is a significant complicating factor in Newcastle’s ongoing attempts to meet Financial Fair Play regulations after spending more than £200 million net on nine new players since the club was bought by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October last year.

Telegraph Sport can reveal for the first time just how large the payments are to cover wages of players who have not only been sent out on loan, but also some who left on permanent deals over the summer.

In most cases, Newcastle are still paying around two thirds of the wages as they had struggled to offload unwanted players and were forced to “sweeten” deals to persuade other clubs to take them off their hands.

Some of the deals agreed are eye-watering. Reading are understood to be paying a tiny fraction of midfielder Jeff Hendrick’s wages after he signed a £50,000-a-week deal at Newcastle as a free agent in 2020.

It is a similar situation at Norwich City, who are thought to be liable for around £20,000-a-week for midfielder Isaac Hayden. The 27-year-old signed a six-year contract on Tyneside in 2020 and is thought to earn more than £50,000-a-week.

Newcastle did at least insert a clause that means the deal will become a permanent switch if they are promoted back to the Premier League in May.

Perhaps the strangest arrangement is the one that allowed Stoke City to sign striker Dwight Gayle on a permanent basis in July. The 32-year-old, who is yet to score a goal for his new employers, is still being paid £60,000-a-week, but the Championship club are only responsible for around £20,000 of that figure.

Stoke received the favour as they were also struggling to meet FFP regulations in the Championship and could not have signed Gayle and covered his wages without a cut-price deal. It also thought that Newcastle had to come up with a similar arrangement to facilitate Federico Fernández’s move to Spanish club Elche.

Telegraph Sport has also learned that Sheffield United are only liable for a third of defender Ciaran Clark’s estimated £40,000-a week while he spends a season in South Yorkshire. The 33-year-old centre-back has not played since August because of injury.

Owners inherited problem from previous regime

It is not unusual for top-flight clubs to pay a percentage of the wages for players loaned to lower league clubs but Newcastle have been forced to pay far more than would be considered normal for the type of deals agreed.

It is a problem the new owners inherited from the previous regime, which had handed out big contracts to players who helped the club win promotion from the Championship in 2016 and then extended them in order to protect their market valuation, as demanded by former owner Mike Ashley.

It was a mistake, as the extravagant wages priced the majority of players out of a move back down to the second tier and rival Premier League clubs were simply not interested in them.

Howe’s predecessor, Steve Bruce, had desperately tried to raise extra transfer funds by selling squad players but could not find any buyers who could afford to pay both a transfer fee and cover the player’s wage demands.

Newcastle declined to comment when asked by Telegraph Sport to explain why the decisions had been taken, although sources have stressed that the money freed up on wages by loaning players out allowed the club to sign Alexander Isak in a club record £60 million deal in August.

Nevertheless, the drain on resources is a headache that will resurface when the club looks to strengthen again in January as it makes it harder to keep within FFP rules. It means they will listen to offers for squad players in the winter window in order to create more wriggle room within their current budget.

To put things into context, the combined wages of the players who departed over the summer add up to considerably more than the club top earner, England international Kieran Trippier, is paid every week.

Meanwhile, Newcastle are close to confirming the signing of exciting young Australia international Garang Kuol. The 18-year-old, who made his debut for the senior side against New Zealand last week, will join from Central Coast Mariners but will immediately be loaned to a European side because of work permit issues in the UK.