El Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought Newcastle in October 2021 for 320 million euros with the goal of transforming it into a giant of the Premier and Europe. A mission that started with the threat of relegation… but ended up being resolved with a brilliant 2022 (12 wins, two draws, five losses and 38 points).
They came out of the well with a second high turn propelled by their winter transfers. Bruno Guimaraes (42.1′), Wood (30), Trippier (15), Burn (15) and Targett (surrendered) They cost them 102.1 million (record spending in European football last January) changing their eleven and their aspirations. The ‘Magpies’ escaped from burning and laid the foundations to face a summer market with economic muscle and sporting aspirations.
“We want to win trophies, but titles need investment, time, patience and teamwork. We want to strengthen ourselves, but we have to work within the Financial Fair Play and make sure we do it in the long term“said Amanda Staveley, director of the board and head of PCP Capital Partners, which together with RB Sports & Media has 20% of a club that controls the PIF (80%). The time to invest has come.
Who signs for Newcastle?
The first big decision the new Saudi owners made was fire coach Steve Bruce and sign Eddie Howe. Once the bench was revolutionized, Staveley, her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi (also part of PCP Capital Partners) and Jamie Reuben (RB Sports & Media) began to weave what their sports organization chart would be like under the supervision of the PIF. For the January window they relied on Nick Hammond (former Reading and Celtic director of football) as a consultant and Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruiting. That’s how they got to Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Trippier…
Meanwhile, they continued to search for a sporting director who has already landed at St James’ Park. Dan Ashworth, architect of Brighton and ‘father’ of the ‘England DNA’ that has revolutionized the English team, has landed at Newcastle. “I want to help the club grow and succeed in the long term”, confessed the new ‘boss’ who will have command in the quarry, the scouting, the women’s team, the educational center… The signings, however, will not be just Ashworth thing: it will be a collaborative effort between the new sporting director, Nickson and the owners. This is how they have been detecting future incorporations for months.
What kind of players are you going to sign and what are your goals?
Howe is clear about the path that Newcastle travels. “Trippier’s arrival is a sign that we are an attractive club. And I’m not just talking about money. It comes to face a challenge in the short and long term. Hopefully, it will make other footballers around the world consider the option of coming and sharing our dreams.”
The Newcastle want to sign to reach the “next level”, as revealed by a member of the board in the ‘Chronicle’, but they are not going to go crazy. They are not going to sign stars like Neymar or Bale. They are not going to get carried away by the glitter and media impact. The incorporation of Bruno Guimaraes is the line to be followed by the ‘Magpies’. They are looking for high-level footballers with ambition, hunger and the ability to improve. They don’t want anyone to settle.
They must design a strategy that is attractive to attract the best. They must not sign erratic or declining players. They must send a message to the market
“In this first phase, due to their status, they will not be able to sign the most important footballers in the world and they will only be able to acquire players of a good level. They must design an attractive strategy to attract the best. They must not sign erratic or declining players. They must send a message to the marketMarcelino Elena, formerly of Newcastle and director of the Spanish Football Sports Agency, stated in MARCA in January. A roadmap they are following. There are many names related to the ‘Magpies’ (Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Raphinha (Leeds) , Moussa Diaby (Leverkusen), Aké (Manchester City)… although his most immediate arrivals are ‘detected’.
are tied to Nick Pope, Burnley international goalkeeper, for 15 million. And they negotiate for the Dutch central Botman (Lille) and the French attacker Ekitike (Reims) after finally getting Targett by paying the 17.5 ‘kilos’ stipulated in his purchase clause once his loan from Aston Villa has ended. And more will come.
How much money can Newcastle spend?
In St James’ Park they have millions to invest… but also limits. “We have to move within the Financial Fair Play (FPF) and in the long term,” said Staveley. Kieran Maguire, professor and head of the economic portal ‘Price of Football, puts his options in figures: “They can easily spend €600m as they have a lot of free space for the FPF. If they invest that amount in soccer players with five-year contracts, the amortization will be 120 per year and that is the figure that goes to the FPF. They haven’t bought anyone yet because they are in negotiations. The selling clubs ask too much.”
We have to move within the Financial Fair Play (FPF) and in the long term
Despite its wide range, the 102.1 ‘kilos’ spent on soccer players in January are the most likely reference that they could invest in this market “easily”, according to Maguire. Once their goals have been detected and they already have quality footballers in their squad (Saint-Maximin, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Wood, Burn, Almirón…), Newcastle launches the market to sign the four-five pieces they need to get closer to Europe. They want to expand the January base with a summer plus. Make the ‘Big Six’ nervous. It won’t be for money.