Martin Keown claims that it is "not really surprising" that both Newcastle United and Sunderland are struggling - because they "don't seem to be buying well at all". The Magpies have spent close to £50 million on five different players this summer, yet former Arsenal defender Keown does not believe there is anyone in either of the North East sides' squads who are "willing to roll up their sleeves" when things get tough. And, despite Newcastle having signed Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba, Ivan Toney and Florian Thauvin already this summer for a hefty outlay, Keown admits he is not sure "life will be that different" under Steve McClaren. Speaking in his "Tackle Keown" column on the Daily Mail's website, the former Premier League winner said:
"You look at a team like Southampton - they buy well and bring through their own talent. They have a good core of players so they can add or lose the odd player without having a huge impact. But Newcastle or Sunderland dont seem to be buying well at all.
"Whenever they lose a match they dont seem to have anybody in their squad willing to roll up their sleeves. Both clubs are built on desire and passion and the fans want that ingredient through the team if nothing else.
"They can accept a poor performance but theres no excuse for a lack of effort. Sometimes the organisation in both teams is so lacking and Sunderland in particular are not playing together as a group. That has been very obvious in the first few weeks. "Newcastle have got a point and been playing slightly better, but not by much. "Of course its early days for Steve McClaren but you have to wonder then whether life under him will be that different. "Either way, there are enough good players out there and both clubs (Newcastle and Sunderland) have got money. "They just need to make sure their recruitment is spot on because the worst thing about those two teams this season is that its not really surprise what were seeing."
Whether Keown will be proven right in the coming weeks and months, only time will tell. Newcastle fans will certainly hope the club's summer spending spree will help turn things around though. For all the latest NUFC News, Views and Transfers make sure to follow WhatCulture.com/NUFC on Twitter and Facebook.
NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.