Mike Ashley’s 14-year tenure as the owner of Newcastle United came to an end on Thursday, with a Saudi-led consortium completing the £300m takeover of the club. The takeover was approved by the Premier League after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the state of Saudi Arabia would not control the club, with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has assets of £250bn, making Newcastle United the richest club in world football.
Instant success will be extremely unlikely for Newcastle with the new owners not expected to inject hundreds of millions in the upcoming transfer window, but long-term success has now become a reality for Magpies fans, with the club having gone trophyless in major competitions for 66 years. So, with Newcastle now the richest club in England, we wondered what would happen with the Magpies over the next five years? Will the takeover bring trophies and world-class names to St. James’ Park?
There is a huge buzz around Newcastle United again in the football world with agents bombarding the new owners with an array of dizzying options and promises since the deal was confirmed. The consortium met staff on Friday and will meet the players next week but have stressed they will take their time over the future of Steve Bruce – even if he is widely expected to leave. Amanda Staveley was careful not to say anything to suggest his future has been decided on Thursday.
Who Could Be the New Manager?
Big transfer rumours emerged, with high profile players and managers linked with moves to St James’ Park. Four managers are being considered by the consortium: Rafa Benitez, Massimiliano Allegri, Mauricio Pochettino and Lucien Favre. Out of the four managers linked, three of them are in jobs. Benitez is back in the Premier League with Everton, while Allegri returned to Juventus this summer.
As for Pochettino, he’s managing Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe at PSG. But Favre is out of work. He did nearly move to the Premier League this summer, but a move to Crystal Palace collapsed. The 63-year-old is known for playing attacking football, which would certainly make him a hit at St James’ Park.
So could Favre be an option for Newcastle once again now the takeover has been resurrected? It’s been reported that Steve Bruce will lose his job as manager, which should come as no surprise. The new owners have a lot of big decisions to make, but one of their most urgent is who calls the shots on the touchline. Out of the four managers they wanted year, only Favre seems like a viable option right now.
How About New Players?
While members of the Toon Army nurse their hangovers, attention will quickly be drawn to who Newcastle will buy with their new riches. Let’s ignore fanciful targets like Erling Haaland and look at realistic targets for Newcastle in the January transfer window.
Chelsea signed Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu. Manchester City, memorably, signed Robinho. The last two Premier League clubs taken over by the richest owners around made significant statement signings in their first dip into the transfer market and Coutinho could well be Newcastle’s equivalent purchase. His time at Barcelona has been so torrid that it’s easy to forget how talented the playmaker really was back in his Liverpool days. This is a player whose career has stalled. With Barca’s finances in a torrid state and Newcastle needing an injection of creativity, a move for Coutinho could suit all parties.
Newcastle’s defence needs sorting. In seven Premier League games this season, Newcastle have conceded 16 goals while their defence has poor chemistry. Koulibaly was linked with Newcastle the last time the takeover looked like it might happen and will be again. The Napoli centre-back has attracted attention from Europe’s top clubs but none have taken the plunge on the 30-year-old. He may not have much resale value, but you can overlook that when you’re worth £350billion.
A player with immense talent, Dembele has still managed to infuriate Barcelona fans with his inconsistent performances since a €105 million deal back in 2017. The forward’s contract at Barcelona expires next summer and is yet to agree on a new deal at the Camp Nou. He’ll be free to negotiate with clubs in January and his club will be desperate to cash in. With other Premier League clubs, including both Manchester teams, also rumoured to be interested, competition could be fierce for the 24-year-old.
Newcastle reportedly made a verbal offer for Kamara over the summer and signing the 21-year-old would represent a real coup. While Kamara rejected the chance of moving to St James’ then, renewed ambition and opportunity may cause the highly-rated Marseille midfielder to reconsider his stance. After representing France at the U21 level, a deal for Kamara would demonstrate that Newcastle are looking to build real foundations for the future rather than simply signing the biggest names at the biggest prices.
Ramsey has not prospered since leaving Arsenal. After running down his contract, the Wales international joined Juventus in 2019 on a bumper contract but has failed to impress with his performances in Italy. Although he won Serie A in his first season, Ramsey only managed 24 league appearances in his debut year and 22 last term. With Juventus reportedly willing to offload the midfielder for a small fee, Newcastle may take the plunge and sign a classy operator with a point to prove.