Bargain Hunt: Newcastle United's top five bargains under Mike Ashley

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League
Lee Charnley (left) & Mike Ashley (right) have led Newcastle on their very own 'bargain hunt'

Since Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United back in 2007 it's been almost completely doom and gloom at the club. However, a spell in Europe and two instant returns to the Premier League following relegation has given the Magpies hope in the darkest of times.

Last season, Rafa Benitez managed Newcastle to 10th in the Premier League and it looked like the Spaniard would be financially backed by Ashley this summer - but it wasn't to be and the former Real Madrid manager has been forced to look for bargains this window.

That hasn't always been a bad thing though; Newcastle have been fairly successful in the hunt for 'cheaper alternatives'. Here are five of the best bargains of the Mike Ashley era:

Jamaal Lascelles

Lascelles signed for Newcastle alongside goalkeeper Karl Darlow from Nottingham Forest in 2014 for a combined fee of £7 million. The defender didn't make his first league start until 23 January 2016, scoring in Newcastle's 2-1 defeat to Watford. Lascelles delivered an explosive interview following a dismal 3-1 defeat to Southampton, stating his side had "no excuses" for their lack of "passion and desire".

Following that interview, Newcastle went unbeaten for the rest of the season and nearly escaped relegation, picking up draws against Liverpool and Manchester City before thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 on the final day.

Following this, Lascelles was given the captaincy by Benitez and the Englishman has led Newcastle back into the Premier League and to their second highest Premier League finish in twelve years.

Moussa Sissoko

Brighton and Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Brighton and Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Another Newcastle bargain who was made captain. Signing for Newcastle for merely £1.8 million in January 2013, Sissoko had two moments which made his Newcastle career worthwhile. His first home game against Chelsea where he bagged a brace in a 3-2 win and his £30 million sale to Tottenham in 2016.

Sissoko had a dreadful final season at Newcastle but arguably one of the Frenchman's finest moments is forgotten by Geordies but given the circumstances, rightfully so. 24 May 2015, Newcastle took on West Ham United knowing that a win would secure their position in the Premier League for another season.

Sissoko had a blinder of a game and Newcastle took the lead when the midfielder nodded in from a Jonas Gutierrez cross, sending Newcastle fans into rapture. Sissoko's shining moment in black and white was set but Gutierrez, who had beaten cancer just seven months prior, wasn't finished with the Hammers. The Argentine winger cut inside from the left and drove the ball beyond Adrian, driving 52,000 already emotional Geordies into tears.

However, this meant Sissoko's performance was quickly forgotten and cries of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" were aimed at Sissoko again the following season. Sissoko left the club after their relegation and Newcastle made a £28.2 million profit on the midfielder.

Yohan Cabaye

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League
Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League

When a chant is created threatening to riot if a player is sold, you can safely assume that player is a bit of a fan favourite. After signing for the Magpies for a small fee of around £4.3 million, Yohan Cabaye was exactly that, demonstrating a passing range and a quality on the ball unseen on Tyneside since the Bobby Robson era. The Frenchman had two magnificent seasons scoring 18 goals in 93 appearances.

When rumours of a move to Arsenal caught the eye of Cabaye in 2013, he refused to play for the Magpies against both Manchester City and West Ham United but when a move didn't materialise the midfielder had his best half-season at the club in terms of goals, bagging 7 in 20 matches before agreeing a £19 million move to PSG in January 2014.

Pappis Demba Cissé

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

No Newcastle fan will ever forget the name Pappis Cissé. That first half season where he scored 13 goals in 14 games or the late winners against Anzhi Makhachkala, Stoke City and Fulham just to name a few. Cissé signed for Newcastle for just £9 million, and the memories he brought the club meant he was worth every penny.

Cissé scored the Premier League goal of the season in 2011/12 with a speculative effort that looped over Petr Cech from long-range.

The introduction of Aleksandar Mitrovic meant that Cissé was condemned to the role of super-sub before leaving for China in 2016

Cheick Tiote

Newcastle United v Northampton Town - Capital One Cup Second Round
Newcastle United v Northampton Town - Capital One Cup Second Round

Many Newcastle fans deem Tiote's central midfield partnership with Yohan Cabaye as one of their best and when you look at their form in 2011/12, it's not hard to see why. The Ivory Coast international's work rate and defensive abilities gave Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa the freedom they needed to produce results for the Magpies.

Tiote scored just one goal for Newcastle, the stunning equaliser in Newcastle's 4-4 draw with Arsenal in 2011. Tiote struggled in a Newcastle shirt following the departure of Cabaye and was sold to Beijing Enterprises in Summer 2016.

Sadly Tiote passed away in 2017 after collapsing during training leaving a legacy behind having stolen the hearts of Newcastle fans around the world.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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