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