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Assessing Newcastle’s Chances of Becoming a Superclub Soon
Newcastle fans have suffered a lot with Mike Ashley in charge of the club, but the recent takeover by big Saudi investors suggests that the club’s fortunes might be changing.
The expectations are that the group behind the move is willing to spend a lot of money to make Newcastle a superclub.
New co-owner Amanda Staveley, who engineered the deal, even stated that she expects the team to win the EPL title in the next few years.
We all saw what happened with Chelsea and Manchester City not that long ago, so it’s certainly not impossible. But how likely is it in today’s environment?
I share my thoughts based on all the facts and after analyzing how Chelsea and Manchester City conquered English soccer.
Newcastle Deal Major Takeaways
Before I examine the past, let’s talk about the present and everything we know about the Newcastle deal. There were plenty of rumors and previous attempts for a takeover.
Former owner Mike Ashley has stated his desire to sell the club in the past, but the rumors suggest that his asking price was way too large.
And yet, the beginning of the new season brought more hope to the fans and the deal finally came through. A consortium from Saudi Arabia acquired 80% of the stakes and ownership of the club.
The Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) paid £300 million and Amanda Staveley from PIF’s PCP Capital Partners became a director of the board.
All the signals coming from the new ownership suggest we should see big moves soon.
Manager Steve Bruce is most likely to be replaced before the January transfer window and the new manager will be given a lot of money to spend in the near future.
The ambitions are obvious and we’ve seen similar moves work out in the past. That begs the question of whether Newcastle can become successful in the current climate and win the EPL title soon.
Let’s compare the situation with some similar examples from the competition’s history to find out.
How Chelsea and Manchester City Became Superclubs
We’ve had clubs with rich owners in the past, but the closest parallel to the current situation can be found in two teams: Chelsea and Manchester City.
Let’s start with the club from London and explore its state before Roman Abramovich’s arrival in 2003.
- League Position: 4th
- Manager: Claudio Ranieri
- Notable Arrivals (First Season): Hernan Crespo, Damien Duff, Juan Sebastian Veron, Claude Makelele
- Top EPL Teams: Manchester United, Arsenal
Claudio Ranieri had just managed to get Chelsea into the Champions League by finishing fourth before the Russian billionaire arrived. The club spent over £100 million in the first transfer window alone, buying exceptional players from other top European clubs and the EPL.
Chelsea was trying to overtake Arsenal and Manchester United who spent the last 6-7 years battling for the title. Despite the solid starting point and the huge initial investment, the team didn’t manage to deliver trophies.
That’s when Jose Mourinho arrived, alongside players like Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Petr Cech, and a few more stars.
It was enough for Chelsea to win back-to-back titles and the club never looked back.
It took spending over £100 million in two summer transfer windows and a top manager to move the needle. The club has been among the best in England ever since with an overall strategy of investing heavily and sacking managers quickly when the results are poor.
That was how Chelsea did it in 2003 and Manchester City went through a similar transformation five years later. The club was owned by Thaksin Shinawatra before his assets were frozen and he was forced to sell.
The Abu Dhabi United Group bought the club and here are the key facts at the time.
- League Position: 9th
- Manager: Mark Hughes
- Notable Arrivals (First Season): Robinho, Wayne Bridge, Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Shay Given
- Top EPL Teams: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea
The situation was a bit more complicated compared to what Chelsea had to do.
Man City was an average EPL team at the time, finishing in the middle of the table in the 2007-08 season. Despite a huge investment in the first campaign, the club failed to improve dramatically.
In the summer, the new owners spent over £100 million to attract even more players and manager Mark Hughes was sacked in December after a relatively poor start.
The team gradually started improving and finished fifth in the Premier League. City won the FA Cup and qualified for the Champions League in the 2010-11 season which was a huge step forward.
With even more investments, the squad was getting stronger pretty much every year and it was obvious that this team was going to win the EPL title eventually.
It happened sooner rather than later in one of the most dramatic final days in English football history.
Manchester City won the title in the 2011-12 season. It took three years, attracting a top manager like Roberto Mancini, and hundreds of millions spent on world-class talent.
Similar to Chelsea, the club is still leading the way in England and has won many more trophies since. The recipe is obvious and the big question is if Newcastle can follow the steps of Chelsea and Manchester City.
The Challenges Ahead
I believe that Newcastle will struggle big time to replicate what Chelsea and Manchester City did for multiple reasons. The first one is related to the competition.
When Roman Abramovich entered English soccer, Arsenal and Manchester United were way ahead of everyone else. They had the strongest squads and iconic managers, but the Premier League didn’t offer too many other consistent teams.
In fact, Chelsea was part of the second tier of the EPL at the time, alongside Liverpool and possibly Everton. The team had to jump only one tier, so getting an elite manager like Jose Mourinho and spending over £200 million was enough.
Manchester City had a tougher time reaching the top after the change in ownership in 2008.
The team had to face three elite teams – Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. While the Gunners were on a decline, they were still a top side in the first couple of seasons after the deal.
You can add to that the fact that City was an average team and teams like Tottenham and Liverpool were becoming more and more consistent. That’s part of the reason it took three years until the club won the English Premier League title.
It’s obvious that Newcastle is prepared to do the same, but there’s one major problem. This time around, the team will have to close the gap to three phenomenal teams – Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool.
All of them have incredible squads and a lot of money to spend.
On top of that, there’s a group of strong contenders behind them too. The likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, and Leicester City have the potential to fight for the Champions League spots in the near future.
Newcastle is second-to-last in the league right now, so the team is in an awful starting spot. Catching up with the second-tier clubs in English soccer is going to take a massive effort.
I don’t think it can happen next season and I’m not sure it can happen in 2023-24 even.
Getting close to the top three sides is probably even further down the road and it all goes through massive investments.
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are supposed to stop such wild changes in soccer. I’m sure that Newcastle will find ways around them, but they will limit the club at least partially.
All things considered, I don’t think that Newcastle can become a superclub in fewer than five years and there’s no guarantee that the club will ever reach that status in the near future.
Newcastle Odds for the Future
It’s interesting to see how the latest odds answer the question of whether Newcastle can win the EPL in the near future. Many sportsbooks have reacted to the news by releasing special futures.
Let’s check them out.
- Newcastle to Win the EPL in the Next Five Years; +800
- Newcastle to Win a Trophy in 2022-23; +2000
- Newcastle to Finish in the Top 4 in 2021-22; +2500
- Newcastle to Win the Champions League in the Next Five Years; +3300
- Newcastle to Win the EPL Title in 2022-23; +10,000
As you can see, most EPL betting sites are not too optimistic about Newcastle’s chances to join the English soccer elite in the next few seasons.
And yet, the fans can certainly expect a rapid improvement and they can dare to dream. If the new owners are consistent in their investments and attract a top manager soon, you never know what might happen.
What’s your take on Newcastle’s fate? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.