Newcastle United: What will the takeover mean?
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The Premier League has experienced what could be its most historic moment, and not a single Premier League ball was kicked. Newcastle United’s takeover by a consortium spearheaded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) is perhaps the biggest statement of intent since Sheikh Mansour purchased Manchester City in 2008.
Clubs not just in England’s top division, but across the world, baulked at the financial power encompassing the Etihad Stadium all those years ago.
But if Mansour was a financial juggernaut, then the PIF is a financial god whose £320billion valuation is enough to absorb around Mansour’s wealth ten times over.
If there has ever been a time for the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ to flex their muscles, wrap their legs around the chairs at the top table of the division, and dig deep in anticipation of the financial tsunami threatened by the Magpies, it is now.
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So, a tiny portion of Liverpool supporters’ qualms may have been eased by the news the Reds have apparently expressed an interest in Atletico Madrid superstar Joao Felix.
Reports from Spanish news outlet Fichajes claim Jurgen Klopp’s side could make a move for the 21-year-old who is believed to be valued at around £68m.
Felix’s contract at the Wanda Metropolitano does not expire until 2026 so there is no precedent strong enough to force Atletico into a transfer, unless they receive the exact amount of money they want.
Is the move fanciful? Yes. Is it going to happen? Most likely not. But statements of intention have never been more crucial now there is a £320bn behemoth at St James’ Park who have the financial power to tempt anybody they please.
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Football clubs can try to convince themselves Financial Fair Play regulations will be able to throw a net over any monumental attempts of spending by Newcastle.
Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated on many occasions, the biggest fish always seem to find a way out of the net – Newcastle are a Great White Shark.
Liverpool must show their supporters, and perhaps most crucially, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and co, they are ready to strengthen and maintain their place at the top.
Expressions of interest, not just in Felix, but in AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, Club Brugges’ star Charles De Ketelaere, and many more have never been more important.
Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino, the terrifying tripartite who blitzed opposition defences on their way to a Premier League and Champions League triumph are all over 30 and could all leave for nothing in 2023.
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Reports from the Daily Mirror have suggested Salah wants £500,000 per week to extend his deal at Liverpool.
While the Reds would have to dig very deep into their funds to satisfy the Egyptian’s demands, Newcastle owners would only have to dig through the sofa to find those wages.
This is what Liverpool are up against, and while there is nothing to suggest Salah is planning on moving to the Toon, such a move is no longer beyond the realms of possibility.
Liverpool’s history, cultural cache, tradition, in combination with the awe-inspiring Anfield atmosphere and Klopp himself, is enough to attract any player to join, even if the carpet leading to St James’ Park is paved with gold and silk.
And if there has ever been a time to start using those advantages and loosening the transfer purse strings, it is now.
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