£13m Aleksandar Mitrovic deal takes Newcastle summer transfer spend to highest level of Mike Ashley era

Joe Hall
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Mitrovic has signed a five-year deal with Newcastle United (Source: Getty)

Is Mike Ashley adopting a new approach to Newcastle United after years of mounting criticism?

Read more: Newcastle to pay McClaren trophy bonus

The club's much-maligned owner has already allowed £27m of its funds to be spent on new players this summer - more cash than he has ever released on transfers in an entire season since taking it over in 2007.

Newcastle fans have long been left frustrated with the Sports Direct owner's perceived lack of interest in improving the squad and competing for trophies, yet with less than a month gone in the first transfer window of the season, new head coach Steve McClaren has been allowed to sign PSV midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for £14m and - subject to a work permit - Serbian starlet Aleksandar Mitrovic for £12.95m.

The two highly-rated players are the joint fourth and fifth most expensive signings in Newcastle's history. Only Michael Owen (£17.5m) and Alan Shearer (£14.7m) cost more.

Coming to a combined £26.95m, only Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have a larger transfer expenditure more three weeks into the window.

Not since former chairman Freddie Shepherd let Grame Souness spend £42.8m on new players a decade ago, including a particularly misguided £14m on Albert Luque (£14m, 36 appearances, three goals), have Newcastle spent so much in a single season.

Read more: Newcastle receive more TV money than every club outside top four except Liverpool

McClaren himself is even being incentivised by a significant bonus if he can guide the Magpies to their first major trophy in 46 years.

However, disgruntled Newcastle fans will likely point to the club's ballooning income before hailing Ashley as an ambitious silverware hunter with a devil may care attitude in the transfer market.

Newcastle were named the 19th richest club in the world by Deloitte earlier this year, thanks to record revenues in excess of £129.7m - partly driven by the second-biggest TV income enjoyed by any club outside the top four.

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