Evolution Not Revolution: Assessing Newcastle United's Summer Business

Botman, Pope and Targett have arrived, along with a clutch of promising youth stars
15:30, 15 Jul 2022

When the Saudi Public Investment Fund bought Newcastle United, making them technically the richest club in the world, it is fair to say a fair few people got carried away. Neymar, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe were being photoshopped into Newcastle kits left right and centre as beleaguered Magpies fans looked past the rot of the Mike Ashley era to a future of Champions League nights and glory. 

But Eddie Howe’s rebuild has been more about evolution than revolution. Far from being seduced by the war chest now available to him, the former Bournemouth manager has focused on incremental improvement across the pitch rather than shoehorning star players into a couple of positions. This theme has continued in his summer recruitment. Here’s a look at the confirmed incomings at St James’ Park so far in this transfer window.


Matt Targett - Aston Villa, £15m 

The 26-year-old spent the back half of last season on loan at St James’ Park, and his efforts in helping Newcastle to a comfortable 11th-placed finish have earned him a permanent move. This is evidence of the club’s sensible approach. They have stuck with a player that has worked out for them rather than chasing glossier, sexier names to fill the left back berth.

Targett’s performances saw him under consideration for both the England and Scotland national teams last spring. The player qualifies for the latter through his grandfather. His future on the international stage remains to be decided, but Targett has already made himself at home at Newcastle.

Nick Pope - Burnley, £10m 

The England goalkeeper looks to be a smart acquisition, with Newcastle swooping to capture Pope for a reasonable fee from relegated Burnley. The 30-year-old will be looking to put himself in the frame for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. 

If incumbent Martin Dubravka stays then Pope will have healthy competition for the number one jersey. However, it seems unlikely that Pope, who has missed just 8 of the last 114 Premier League games Burnley have played, is coming to the North East to play second fiddle.

Sven Botman - Lille, £35m 

A long-time target for the Magpies, the 22-year-old Dutch star is finally a Newcastle player. The defence was crying out for reinforcements when Howe took over and the new owners have delivered. 

The Ajax youth product has become first choice at Lille and missed just one league game when Les Dogues lifted the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21. Botman has represented the Netherlands at every youth level up to the under 21s and a breakthrough debut season in the Premier League could see him stake a claim for an Oranje debut. 

The Youth

As well as bolstering the first team, Newcastle have been making moves to bring the stars of tomorrow to the club. While nobody expects these signings to revolutionise the club overnight, it shows a pleasing long-term vision that was often found lacking under the previous regime.

Charlie McArthur joins from Kilmarnock for an undisclosed fee. The 17-year-old defender had been linked with Liverpool and is expected to hook up with the club’s under-21 side this season.

Tottenham Hotspur starlet Jordan Hackett is another incoming, after his contract expired in North London. The defender has been on-trial at St James’ Park, turning out for the under-21 side in a friendly against Rangers.

Meanwhile highly-rated Alex Murphy signs from Galway United, having rejected offers from Celtic and Brighton & Hove Albion.

newcastle are 8/1 to finish in the top four via betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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