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‘When’ this Newcastle United takeover is approved it will now be more relief than joy

4 months ago
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If there was a global pandemic that stopped the Premier League from having games, it would only make sense for it to still be an incredibly frustrating time for any fan of this particular club.

From takeovers dragging on and furloughs of staffs, season ticket holders ignored for the umpteenth time.

It has come to the point that should this Newcastle United takeover be approved tomorrow, the celebration will be more relief than joy, because so much of the joy of leaving the Cockney’s control has been sucked away from fans because of all the …

… Geopolitical fighting that has broken out.

This has never been about Newcastle possibly becoming the richest club in the world. This is about Qatar taking advantage of the Premier League’s overseas TV rights to squeeze its geopolitical rival, knowing the Middle East rights for the next renewal will immediately become much more expensive.

The amount of time the Newcastle United takeover has gone on has been extended because it’s been handled during a worldwide pandemic that shuttered the season for more than three months, in my opinion; I can understand why the Premier League’s focus for so much of this time has been on restarting safely.

And look, the fact that the money is coming from Saudi Arabia will make every story about Newcastle United into a firestorm; it’s why politicians have made statements, because they know it will be picked up by the tabloids, who will also always — always — splash MBS’ face onto a story and on Twitter, knowing that it will stir up commenters.

Am I excited about the possibility that Newcastle could finally reach its potential with proper investment? Absolutely. Do I realise the money is coming from a country run by a murderous dictator? Absolutely, and it’s a conflicted feeling that is totally fine for any fan to have. I would then have to adjust to the idea that my club has money to spend, and hopefully wisely because …

… Whatever shape the transfer window takes, it will be just as full with stories about Newcastle targets.

If you thought the amount of links to players each previous window was a bit overdone, imagine what could happen when you’re the richest team in the world.

There is nothing more desperate than an agent trying to get his client into a new contract (with no small commission for themselves). Reading all the rumours will take up hours and frankly should the takeover go through, I would prefer that nearly all of them be false.

The last thing that Newcastle needs is the Man City/Robinho-type signing that does nothing to help the club. Everybody sees the Coutinho reports and boy, do I hope they are wrong. Does the team need improvement and a talent infusion? Without a doubt. Should they buy everybody under the sun? No, because the one thing that the club has been powered by this season has been the spirit and togetherness that the current squad has had fostered under them.

Having a smart director of football will be imperative. For the record, would I keep Danny Rose? Sure. I’m on the fence about Valentino Lazaro and I wouldn’t keep Nabil Bentaleb. Then there’s the most pressing bit of transfer business, which is keeping Matty Longstaff. He would be not only another Geordie playing for his hometown club but I think under a high-class manager, Longstaff would be able to realise his potential. I say a high-class manager because …

… Look, Steve Bruce could very well guide Newcastle into a top-13 finish and if given that option at the start of the season, nobody would have rejected that.

There is also no doubt that Bruce has benefited from an incredible amount of luck — points gained against Everton and Chelsea chiefly among them — and the race to the finish, should the takeover go through, would likely be the end of his tenure.

While he likely has avoided relegation, this season’s performances have been a downgrade on style and class from the past two seasons no matter what he tries to justify otherwise.

What I will be looking at with interest during the summer finish will be how much he does true squad rotation with the compressed schedule; if he does not, then we likely will see a repeat of the Christmastime period where there was not enough rotation, a spate of injuries followed and all we heard was excuses instead of accountability. Fans will want to see accountability during the summer finish because …

… Fact is, there’s enough talent in the squad to make it to the end of the season safely.

There are up to five strong centre backs on the 25-man roster when all are healthy, four forwards and multiple attacking midfielders, let alone the competition in centre midfield and on the wings.

You could start one game with a 3-4-2-1 and have Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez; Lazaro, Hayden, Shelvey, Rose; Almiron and Saint-Maximin attacking and Joelinton up top.

The next game, you can go with Bruce’s 4-2-3-1 latest setup and nearly have an entirely new lineup bringing in Ritchie, Clark, Manquillo and Yedlin, Bentaleb, Sean Longstaff, Atsu, Muto or Gayle, even Carroll as a substitute.

There’s plenty of options – if the manager accepts that you cannot finish the season by rolling out the same 11 every game then have a comically shocked reaction with injuries pile up. The assignment for Bruce’s squad is simple: Avoid catastrophe, stay in the Premiership and then …

… Go into an off season that will continue to be anything but normal and quiet. There’s going to be rumours on a daily basis, and it will never, ever be boring. Nothing about this team ever has been.

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