The skies are looking a little brighter at St. James’ Park.
As the news has circulated, many avid football fans have heard that one of the oldest English clubs is getting a new ownership group. A Saudi Arabian Investment fund decided to put their bid in to buy Newcastle United for a £300 million takeover. But with great money comes great responsibility, or whatever it was that Uncle Ben said. The Magpies now have a bright future, but just how bright are we talking? Sure, money talks but how long can it hold the conversation? For me, there is only two ways this takeover will go.
The first way this could go (and obviously the most anticipated) is extreme success. Of course, Newcastle United have had their share of success in the early years of English Football. In the early 1900’s, the Magpies claimed three league championships between the years 1904-1909. It was not until 17 years later that they would claim their next title. They have also won the FA Cup six times but not since 1951-1952. Their most recent title was their league promotion and second division championship in 2016-17.
Since then, there have been short comings for Newcastle since their promotion back to the Premier League in the 2017-18 season. They have also come close to tasting the sweet victory of the Premier League since the league officially titled itself as such. Since the name change in 1993, Newcastle has been in the top four five times. That was all early success, however. Nowadays, this middle of the pack team does well to keep themselves afloat as they have now spent three straight seasons in the top-flight league.
This has not always been a slouch of a team either. This club has played host to some Premier League legends like goalkeeper Tim Krul, Andy Cole (the third highest Premier League scorer), and English legend and purest striker in Alan Shearer, who still holds the record for most career goals in the Premier League with 260 (the next closest to him is Wayne Rooney with 208). As of late though, there have not been many players to cheer about with the Magpies except maybe the signings of Andy Carroll, Miguel Almiron and DeAndre Yedlin. But some new money is a great welcome to the club.
As we have seen, there have been plenty of young players looking to make their jump to the Premier League. We have just seen 24-year-old Timo Werner stake his claim over at Chelsea, after all. Another youngster looking to make the leap over to the league is the German youngster, Kai Havertz. The chances of claiming a player like him may be slim but as I said earlier, money talks. There are also plenty of other options to search from. As Sean Clark and I discussed on our podcast, two Chelsea men are about to be looking for a new home in Pedro and Willian. You could take your pick from either of them for acceptable additions to the team. They could even turn to another Chelsea man, Michy Batshuayi. Or maybe the former Barcelona man, Philippe Coutinho. Whoever that the Magpies decide to go with, they have their choices, to say the least. Like I said, though, this club has one of two ways to go.
I expect to see success with this, but it is all based on the relationship between ownership group, coaches, and players to have a successful organization. If these relationships do not merge well, Newcastle could be doomed to mediocrity. Just because you have new money does not mean that it is a good thing. We could see this money wasted on old talent trying to rejuvenate the young talent, but that is not what gets it done in the league anymore. We have seen plenty of older players get shipped out in place for the new and shiny objects and fall to a middle table team like Newcastle. These types of acquisitions are a nice temporary fix, but they do not solve future woes.
So for Newcastle to remain relevant, they need not fall victim to the trap of signing a quality older player. I understand the temptation. For example, Newcastle has also been linked to players like Gonzalo Higuain, Gareth Bale, and Xherdan Shaqiri. These are proven players in the Premier League, but this is not the direction they need to be looking in. Higuain is not the same striker he used to be, and his fitness is in question. Bale cannot seem to keep himself healthy and the Shaqiri effect of winning championships only seems to last for a little bit until the magic fades away.
So what is the best way for Newcastle United to find success? Take a shot on the youth of tomorrow and move on from the greats of yesterday. The Magpies find themselves in a fantastic position to become the next Leicester City and shock the Premier League with success. The rest of the league does not need to be scared of Newcastle United quite yet, but they should be looking in their rear-view mirror of the next few years or those magpies are going to fly their way right by them to success.