Whilst the euphoria surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United certainly captured the imagination of most football fans across the world, there has arguably been a bigger storm brewing at Newcastle United.
A side synonymous with grand failures, Newcastle have been under the ownership of Mike Ashley since 2007 – the Sports Direct owner, with a somewhat questionable track record – both on and off the pitch.
Toon have found themselves languishing in the Championship as recently as 2017 and have been solely focused on survival in the Premier League for the best part of a decade now.
The influx of Saudi Arabian investment is seen as a new era for the club, with limitless spending and potential in equal measure but how long will it take for fans to see results on the pitch.
European Football back at St James’s Park?
It has been a long decade since Newcastle last played in a European competition, taking part in the 2012/13 edition of the Europa League, due to their 5th-place finish in the league the season before.
Whilst it is very much part of the plan for the new Saudi ownership to be playing in Europe’s elite competitions before too long, it would cap a remarkable turnaround this season if Toon were to climb the table and finish in the top 6.
At 40/1 with William Hill, the prospect of Newcastle cracking the top 6 looks pretty unlikely but stranger things have happened in English football.
Steve Bruce, the manager in charge when the Saudi Arabian regime took over the club, lasted one game before deciding to leave the club by mutual consent.
Manchester City and Chelsea have set the blueprint for how investment in a football club can revolutionize the whole ethos of a team if delivered in a structured and meticulous fashion. Queens Park Rangers and others have failed in their pursuit of throwing an open chequebook at football clubs and only time will tell if Newcastle are truly ready to mix it with the big boys once more.
Avoid the Drop
It perhaps goes without saying that the number one priority for Newcastle this season is avoiding relegation from the Premier League to the Championship Newcastle United.
With 9 games played, the Toon find themselves 19th in the table and with only 4 points to their name. There is plenty of time to arrest the slide and a January transfer window on the horizon, where serious investment is expected to be made into the playing squad.
At 7/5 with Paddy Power to be relegated, clearly the bookmakers believe they could well take a step back before they make big strides forward and they will need to start putting points on the board quickly.
Top Half Finish
Factoring their Newcastle United appalling start to the season, finishing in the top half would yield a superb return for Newcastle – regardless of how much money is plowed into the playing staff in January.
Paolo Fonseca looks set to be the man entrusted with propelling Newcastle up the league over the next few months and the enigmatic Portuguese manager will need to call upon all of his experience at the top level.
Newcastle can currently be backed at 10/1 with Bet 365 to finish in the top half of the table next May and what progress that would be for the new investors as they look to build momentum into next season.