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Food For Thought – Top 3 Bargain Signings By Newcastle Since Mike Ashley Took Over

Since Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United back in 2007, the club have been all about bargains in terms of transfers and despite the club not having the best of times in the past decade, they have picked off a few gems from the market.

Here we look at the best three bargains the club achieved (arguably), given that the players had to have some sort of lasting impact on the club and not just short-term success stories.

Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille, £5.4million)

The winger has proven ultimately to be a real waste of talent.  Ben Arfa’s natural quality is such that he should have been thought of in the same category as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, however, unlike those two his attitude, commitment and consistency was never quite as admirable.

While at Newcastle though, he provided enough excitement to the fans to comfortably outweigh the £5.4million fee paid to Marseille for his services and finished with a record of 76 league appearances and 13 goals for the club.

Ben Arfa’s up and down career has since continued; a very unsuccessful loan spell at Hull preceded a fine run with Nice where he played 34 league games and scored 17 league goals. A move to PSG though has ultimately been a failure and the 30-year-old now looks like finishing his career with a whimper.

Yohan Cabaye (Lille, £4.5million)

Despite being quoted £10million, Newcastle were made aware that Yohan Cabaye had a £4.5million buyout clause in his contract at Lille and made their move in the summer of 2011, just after the French side had won Ligue 1.

Lille won the division because of the talents of Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Eden Hazard and the Toon ultimately bought two of them and were priced out of buying the other. A very simple yet impressive scouting technique!

Cabaye left under somewhat of a cloud having downed tools in order to get a move, however, the vast majority of his 79 league appearances for Newcastle were played to a very high standard and he is fondly remembered by many.

Demba Ba (free transfer)

Yet another player who was badly advised and could have still been at Newcastle to this day; Stoke City decided not to sign him in 2011 based on a major knee injury but Newcastle took a chance on him and got the player for free, something they did not regret.

29 league goals in 54 games including a couple of hat-tricks is quite a record and despite a sadly familiar poor attitude off the pitch from a modern footballer, his performances more than paid for his salary.