Newcastle United finally seem to be on the verge of being taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium that will have a huge impact on their finances – and thus ambition in the transfer market.
Reports have indicated that Newcastle’s prospective new owners could invest £250m in players and infrastructure. Their aim would be to grow the club over time, but expectations will still be big for the immediate future in terms of potential signings.
Current owner Mike Ashley has not spent a great amount of money in recent transfer windows. Should he sell to the group led by Amanda Staveley, Newcastle’s financial flexibility will change.
In turn, many Newcastle fans will be dreaming about the kind of players they could attract in the transfer market.
The club only made one signing in the summer of 2021 and that was Joe Willock, who had already been on loan at St James’ Park from Arsenal.
Currently winless after their opening seven Premier League games, Newcastle need reinforcements if they are to survive. With the help of an ownership group that would comfortably become the top-flight’s richest, hope will remain that some deals can be done in January.
Whether it will be current manager Steve Bruce to benefit from such new players, or someone else, remains to be seen. There is already a feeling that Bruce – who is not particularly popular on Tyneside – knows his fate will lie away from the club.
Whoever is in charge will be looking forward to overseeing a new era for Newcastle, potentially with some new players. Here are a few potential options they could pursue in the transfer market.
The last couple of years in Italy have not been kind to former Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey. After running his contract down at the Emirates Stadium, he joined Juventus in 2019.
Although he won Serie A in his first season, he has not established himself as a key player in Turin. He only managed 24 league appearances in his debut year and 22 last term.
Ramsey now faces an uncertain future at Juve and a transfer seems likely. In that event, it may be wise for the Welshman to move back to the Premier League.
Several clubs are still aware of what he can contribute if given the chance. Newcastle were among those to be linked in the summer transfer window.
Nothing materialised at the time, and it seemed Ramsey’s high wages would scupper any interest. However, Newcastle’s new owners would surely be able to accommodate his salary if they feel it is worthwhile.
That is ultimately the decision they will have to make. The player will be 31 by January and the chances are he will still be out of form.
But if Ramsey can replicate what he did in his previous stint in England, he would be a decent option to consider – especially with Juve being willing to offload him for a minimal transfer fee, or even none at all.
Like Ramsey, the post-Premier League career of Philippe Coutinho has not gone to plan. Once an influential figure at Liverpool, the trajectories of player and club have gone in differing directions since their separation in January 2018.
Liverpool went on to reach the Champions League final that year, before winning the following edition and then finally getting their hands on the Premier League title in 2020.
Coutinho, conversely, struggled to settle at Barcelona and endured a loan spell with Bayern Munich. He won the treble in Germany but didn’t convince enough to earn a permanent transfer.
He has been back with Barca since 2020 and is yet to really kick on. With their financial situation desperate, Coutinho could be the next casualty.
The playmaker would be keen to return to the Premier League, but it is unlikely he will land at a club of Liverpool’s level again. Instead, he may have to look for an ambitious club from the mid-table regions.
Newcastle could thus be a good fit for him as they aim to climb up the rankings.
An extra creative option would do no harm for a team that has struggled for goals on the whole. Again, though, it would be a case of gambling on whether Coutinho, 29, can regain his form.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
In addition to Coutinho, another Barcelona player who may be worth an enquiry is Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
He has suffered from a decline in form recently after previously establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
The German is still under a long-term contract at Camp Nou. But Barcelona may be considering his future if his form does not pick up again.
Newcastle have three decent keepers on their books with Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman. But Ter Stegen would be an upgrade on them if he was to get back on track.
That would likely mean one or two of the current options would have to make way. At this stage, though, it may be in their best interests.
If there is a gap to fill then Newcastle would likely want to address it with quality. At 29, Ter Stegen is at a good age for a keeper and would get his first chance of Premier League football.
Barcelona, if able to find a replacement, would benefit by getting his wages off the books. Again, Newcastle should be able to afford that aspect of a potential deal if it is something they wanted to do.
Another club that has encountered serious financial issues recently is Inter Milan.
They invested heavily to build a team capable of winning Serie A and ultimately succeeded last season. But they have since been forced to rip up some key components of that side.
Coach Antonio Conte, star striker Romelu Lukaku and flying wing-back Achraf Hakimi all had to be sacrificed. Their owners are still under pressure though and may have to make another tough decision about removing an important player from the wage bill.
Milan Skriniar has been suggested as someone who could leave for a while. Although he is happy at Inter, so too was Lukaku, for example. And with a contract expiring in 2023, he is at risk of being sold.
Skriniar has been named in the Italian media as one of the players who could make way as a consequence of Inter’s need to raise €100m by next summer.
There is the prospect of an auction for his services, in which Newcastle could now consider getting involved. They have conceded the joint-most goals in the Premier League after seven games, so it is an area to rectify.
They would have to be convincing in their pitch to a title winner who has Champions League on offer currently.
Coincidentally, the Saudi PIF have also been linked with buying Inter, but only once their new stadium plans are approved. In the meantime, the Nerazzurri’s top talent may remain up for grabs – and a deal with Newcastle could be the first step in a potential connection.
For similar reasons, Lautaro Martinez is also facing an uncertain future at Inter.
The striker is willing to sign a new contract at San Siro but there is nothing official signed at present.
He would be one of their most marketable assets if they did still have to make a big sale, which seems likely.
If Newcastle really wanted to show their ambition, they could think about joining the race for the Argentine’s signature.
Given that he has already been linked with the likes of Barca and some of the Premier League’s elite sides, he too would take some convincing.
But Newcastle’s new owners may want to make one statement signing to appease the fans. A move for Martinez would really show some muscle.
Ultimately, if the deal goes through – and it is still an if – they will have to weigh a lot of things up before setting out a firm plan with regards to the personnel at the club.