The Athletic’s Chris Waugh has dropped an update from behind-the-scenes on how PIF feel about Steve Nickson and his work in the January transfer window.
During a Q&A for The Athletic, he said: “What’s been intriguing is just how prominent a role Nickson, as head of recruitment, has assumed. In many ways, it feels as if he is more empowered than he was under Mike Ashley.
“From what I’ve heard, Nickson has dovetailed well with Howe — both Eddie and Andy, in fact, with the head coach’s nephew having joined the scouting department from Bournemouth — and the ownership team are believed to have been more than satisfied with Nickson’s performance.
“Ultimately, though, it will be the call of whoever is brought in to head up football operations that will decide his fate. Before being promoted by Ashley, Nickson had little experience of senior recruitment and the £40m club-record acquisition of Joelinton, as a centre-forward, remains a stick many still beat him with, perhaps unfairly.”
While it was perhaps understandable why Nickson played such a big role in the January transfer window given the fact the Magpies couldn’t hire a sporting director in time, questions do have to be asked about whether he is the man going forward.
Is he the long-term solution to Newcastle’s driver for better recruitment and marquee signings? While his work last month was fine enough, the summer will present its own unique challenges, not least the prospect of likely negotiating for higher-profile players and for bigger money too.
Would giving Nickson some of the reins in the transfer market be the right call to make? It certainly seems like a risk to do so, and it’s why Magpies fans may be slightly worried by the fact he appears to be taking on a bigger role than he even did under Ashley.
Surviving in the Premier League this season would open up a lot of doors for the club not just in terms of potential transfer targets, but actually also who they could attract to senior positions behind-the-scenes – not least the role Nickson currently occupies.
Meanwhile, Newcastle must never play this star again…