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Rival Premier League boss goes public on Newcastle United transfer market capability

3 weeks ago

This upcoming Newcastle United transfer market window is set to be an intriguing one.

A window that will potentially tell us an awful lot about the approach of the new owners at St James Park.

Just how ambitious they are AND just how quickly they intend to push this project.

When it came to their very first Newcastle United transfer market window, they had no choice but to spend money, the mess they inherited mid-season meant an instant relegation fight that had to be fought AND won.

Eddie Howe has been absolutely top notch in his time so far at St James Park, improving pretty much every player he inherited and then successfully integrating all five signings that were brought in during that January 2022 window.

That initial £85m (plus future add-ons) January window spend was the most any Premier League club had ever spent in a mid-season window, so what next for the new NUFC owners.

As always, a lot of outsiders are keen to talk about Newcastle United and the latest is Jeff Shi, who is chairman of Wolves.

Wolves Chairman Jeff Shi talking to the Birmingham Mail about Newcastle United and competing in the transfer market:

“If the Premier League, or if Europe, are clear about the (FFP) rules, the regulations, the ceiling is always there.

“Newcastle United is a good club, a big club, and maybe if you’re talking about the stadium capacity, maybe commercially, just about the club itself, maybe they have slightly higher potential than us, but not too much, so still not comparable to the big six.

“So maybe they have a little bit higher ceiling there, but not too much, so I don’t see a difference between us too much.

“Yes, they can spend more, but also they will reach a ceiling sooner or later, so they will face the same challenges as we are facing now.

“So I see them to be compared to us but not someone we cannot compete with.”

After promotion in the 2017/18 season, Wolves showed plenty of ambition.

Their first two seasons that followed in the top tier saw a total spend (all figures via Transfermarkt) of £101m and then £105m, which compares to Newcastle’s £54m and £66m transfer spending in those two seasons. However, when it came to net spend, that was really where Wolves showed what they were about, a £163m net spend across those first two seasons after promotion, whilst Mike Ashley allowing only a £42m net spend in the same two season period.

That spending / ambition helped Wolves to seventh place finishes in both seasons and the chance to play European football, whilst Newcastle fought relegation.

Wolves did spend £79m in the 2020/21 season but that was mainly due to selling Jota for £40m to Liverpool. With other players also sold, Wolves brought in £71m for only an £8m net outlay. With Jimenez then out for most of the season through injury, they struggled badly and even finished below Newcastle on goal difference. Showing their fragility and dependence on certain players.

This past season saw a £34m spend by Wolves but only £5m net outlay, they just sneaked ahead of Newcastle into tenth place, this despite NUFC having such a nightmare first half of the season.

Jeff Shi even admits himself that Newcastle United have a ‘higher potential’ than Wolves and as NUFC fans, we have seen in the past under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson just how quickly things can progress, on and off the pitch. The problem was that in both cases it wasn’t sustained, the then owners making some disastrous decisions, particularly employing Graeme Souness after Robson, although Dalglish after Keegan wasn’t great either.

With ambitious owners now, Newcastle fans feel that with everybody pushing together, then pretty much anything could be possible at St James Park. Not guaranteed…but possible.

If the new owners are able to start generating far higher revenues through sponsors etc, when paired with the NUFC fans willingness to back their club both in terms of going to matches and spending on merchandise and so on, then the total revenues can rapidly rise.

Of course, the final hurdle is not only to improve to an extent up the table BUT then make that final push into getting Champions League football eventually, which then unlocks massive extra revenues.

The Wolves chairman talks about a ceiling on spending (and ambition) with the FFP rules and for sure those rules exist. However, if success / progress on and off the pitch can go hand in hand, particularly as we saw back in the 90s with Keegan, then the possibilities are endless.

People say about how things are different and more difficult now, for a club to come along and try to compete with those established at the top.

However, one thing for me has never changed, Newcastle United are the one club that more than any other, could break that current stranglehold half a dozen clubs have at the top of English football.


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