Luke Edwards of the Telegraph has provided an insight into what a Saudi-backed takeover would actually mean for our club.
Edwards was one of the first journalists who first broke the story that a £300million deal had been ‘agreed’ – subject to Premier League approval – and in the same piece, he underlines what changes our potential new owners would be looking to make.
Here’s a snippet from his latest takeover report for the Telegraph, revealing some of their plans both on and off the pitch should a buyout go through:
“The Saudis have been considering how best to make a move into football for some time and have examined buying other clubs. Questions will be asked to why, with their wealth, the Saudis want to bring in minority partners but it is not unusual to the way they structure deals.
“The fund is central to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a plan spearheaded by Prince Mohammed to diversify the economy away from oil and is also the driving force behind the country’s ambitions to develop new tourist and entertainment industries.
“The proposed involvement of PIF will lead to an expectation of huge spending at Newcastle and although there is a long-term plan to invest, with hundreds of millions of pounds available, the project is expected to be one of steady growth. Nevertheless a substantial transfer budget has been earmarked for the next few years with the aim of developing Newcastle into a club that can consistently challenge for European places.
“An obvious move by the new owners is expected to be to take staff at Newcastle out of ‘furlough’ so they are free to work and not to rely upon the Government’s coronavirus job protection scheme which has caused such controversy when used by Premier League clubs.”
As highlighted above, the controversial decision to place staff on furlough leave could be immediately reversed. This would be a good PR stunt from the onset, as this issue was the hot topic of conversation among our fanbase prior to the latest takeover news.
U-turning an unpopular Mike Ashley move would be seen as ‘putting a marker down’ upon arriving on Tyneside.
Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ is also seen as a key factor in purchasing our club, with Prince Mohamed keen to clean up the countries reputation and shift its economy away from the oil dominated industry.
We have already seen Saudi Arabia’s culture try to appear ‘westernised,’ just think of the Joshua-Ruiz rematch back in December, which was the country signalling its intent to become a big player on the world sporting stage.
It was only a matter of time before the country dipped its toe into the Premier League pond, and thankfully for us, it seems to be Newcastle United that may be about to reap the benefits.
That moves me onto my next point – money.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reported to be just as rich as Man City’s Sheikh Mansour, and the Rueben brothers, who will have a 10% stake in the club, are worth a cool £18billion. Figures like these put some serious expectation on our proposed new owners to invest.
The Telegraph says that money will be pumped into the club, but with a long-term vision in mind. FFP restrictions were tightened following Man City’s arrival onto the global scene, but by using a method of steady growth and presenting a sizeable but sustainable pot of funds, Staveley & Co plan on returning Newcastle back to the upper echelons of the Premier League once again.
Somebody pinch me please, I can’t believe that this might actually be happening..