The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia were always going to make a splash in the January transfer window after their controversial takeover in October, with the first signing of the new era confirmed today as Kieran Tripper from Atletico Madrid for a fee around £12.5million.
This is a fantastic capture and shows signs of what’s to be expected in the next few years, however they need more additions and they need them quickly. Wallowing in 19th, having won just once in the first half of the season, it’s not looking good for Newcastle United. They need to stay in the Premier League in order to attract the bigger names but their current league position is making that difficult. Not only is the league position a factor but the general make-up of the squad is ill-suited to playing the sort of football that will save them from relegation.
Eddie Howe’s side need quality reinforcements but who can they bring in and at what cost? Here’s our suggestions.
Primary Target - Sven Botman, LOSC Lille
Everyone who follows football transfers will be aware that Newcastle have been heavily linked with LOSC Lille centre half Sven Botman. The 6’3, 21-year old Dutchman is a powerful, intelligent ball-playing defender who cuts an assured and confident figure in the centre of defence. Being left-footed also allows him to play passes at slightly different angles than a right-footed player adapting on the left. The Magpies would have to pay more than £35million after their opening bid was rejected.
Alternative - James Tarkowski, Burnley
Being eight years older than Botman, James Tarkowski offers experience, robustness and a strong aerial presence having played a key role in Burnley’s Premier League survival in recent years. The Englishman is out of contract in the summer and would be available on a pre-contract but that’s no good if Newcastle are relegated. Should they not get Botman they should be gunning to bring in Tarkowski this window for a fee of around £20-25million. Burnley wouldn’t want to sell but they certainly don’t want to lose him for free either.
Primary Target - Todd Cantwell, Norwich City
Plainly put, Newcastle currently struggle to carry the ball forward. They’re in the bottom four for carries, progressive carriers, dribbles entering the final third and distance travelled with the ball. Basically, besides Saint-Maximin and the occasional marauding run from the likes of Joelinton or Jacob Murphy they don’t have anyone to link the attack to the defence. Todd Cantwell could be that man. He loves having the ball at his feet, can drive forward to provide support to the front men, is technically gifted and only 23 years old. With Norwich making him available for transfer he’d command a fee of £15-20million which would be an absolute steal in the current market.
Alternative - Aurelien Tchouameni, Monaco
Now this is a bolder shout and slightly less attainable but with the resources at the disposal of Newcastle why not throw it out there. Tchouameni has been on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in Europe and with good reason. He’s a young, powerful and dominating presence in the midfield and with his better years ahead of him, could be a shrewd signing for Eddie Howe. He would slot into the midfield, potentially in place of the reportedly out-going Sean Longstaff or Isaac Hayden who is now out for the foreseeable future, after requiring knee surgery. The young Frenchman would cost around £35-40million but would be a worthwhile investment and someone to develop in the coming seasons.
Primary Target - Anthony Martial, Manchester United
Anthony Martial wants out of Manchester United and Newcastle could be the perfect place for the Frenchman to revive his stalling career. His wages prove an issue for most but Newcastle could certainly afford them under their new ownership. He has goals in his locker and could thrive being the main man. In the 19/20 season he scored 17 times and registered six assists in 32 league matches. To put that into context, the last Newcastle player to score 17 goals in a season was Alan Shearer in 02/03. It would likely be a loan move and then potentially an option to buy but either way it’s a deal Newcastle should look to get done, especially with Callum Wilson out with a torn calf muscle.
Alternative - Dominic Solanke, AFC Bournemouth
Eddie Howe could return to his former club and raid them for their in-form striker, Dominic Solanke. He’s been in superb form this campaign for the Cherries, scoring 19 in 26 matches in all competitions. The only issue would be can he perform with the weight of the world on him at Newcastle. His reputation in the Premier League isn’t great and he’s struggled in the past but everyone has to turn a corner at some point and this could be his time. Callum Wilson moved from Bournemouth to Newcastle and has done alright for himself, could Solanke follow suit. The deal would cost over £20million as Bournemouth would need to replace him but would also be reluctant to let him leave during their promotion push.