Following 15 years of hardship, Newcastle United fans finally have something to be excited about with the confirmation of Amanda Staveley & Mohammad Bin Salman’s takeover of the historic club seemingly only days away.
‘The Magpies’ look set to trade in pantomime villain Steve Bruce for a born winner in Antonio Conte [the current 2/1 bookies favourite for the role] and with a new owner richer than every other Premier League club combined, talks of Mbappe, Haaland and Lewandowski have circulated social media like a wildfire.
There has been a mixed history of success for financial takeovers of prominent clubs around Europe, whilst it is easy to think about the Man City’s and PSG’s it is pertinent to remember the likes of Football Club Anzhi Makhachkala who went from financial powerhouse to Russian Football National League 2 obscurity, spending does not guarantee success.
You won’t find the likes of Mbappe & Haaland on this list but instead here are ten plausible and financially sensible signings we would love to see at Newcastle United!
5 – Jonathan David
During the immediate aftermath of the takeover announcement, we saw the likes of Mbappe2022 and Haaland2022 trending all over social media, and although the thought of seeing 22-year-old generational talent Kylian Mbappé trade the busy high fashion life of Paris for the gritty streets near Haymarket metro station is fantastic, the reality is those sorts of moves are very unlikely to come to fruition.
Callum Wilson is a fine striker and with 17 goal contributions last season has performed well in black-and-white, however turning 30 before the end of the season and being the only viable threat at striker, there is definitely room for new blood to lead the line into the new generation of football for Newcastle.
Enter Jonathan David, the 21-year-old Canadian international currently leading the line for Lille OSC in the French Ligue 1, the Brooklyn born striker was a crucial part of Lille’s shocking 2020/21 Ligue 1 victory contribution 16 GC in his maiden season in France following a successful period in Belgium racking up an impressive 30 goals in 60 games for Gent.
During his time at Gent, David put out 1.1 GC/90 a sight that Newcastle fans will welcome following last seasons dreary 0.94 goals per 90 [36 goals in 38 games] with Wilson alone leading the line.
Stylistically very similar to the likes of Marcus Rashford on Heung Min-Son in the Premier League, David would be more than capable across any of the front three or operating down the middle alongside a stylistically adjacent striker in a system that would suit potential new ‘gaffer’ Antonio Conte.
4 – Antonio Rudiger
Having spoken to many long-suffering fans of Newcastle United, the number one position they want to see strengthened in January is centre half with none of Lascelles, Schär, Fernandez or Clark anywhere near Premier League quality. New owners and big signings do not necessarily require big fees with PSG paying just £18.9m for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who would go on to contribute 156 goals for Les Parisiens during his stint in Paris.
Antonio Rudiger is set to leave Chelsea in June 2022 with contract negotiations breaking down leading to the 28-year-old rejecting Chelsea’s most recent offer of £125,000 per week.
Fast, confident on the ball and multi-faceted, Antonio Rudiger is everything that goes against a traditional Newcastle United centre half during Bruce’s time at the head of the club with Fabian Schär the closest thing to a top-quality centre half that ‘The Magpies’ have seen since Fabricio Coloccini.
Conte has managed Rudiger previously with the German international featuring in 27 of Chelsea’s league games during the 2017/18 season that saw Chelsea conceded the fourth-fewest goals in the Premier League that season.
Rudiger alongside a veteran defender such as Kalidou Koulibaly could be a really, really dominant duo in the Premier League regardless of the style implemented by Newcastle’s future manager.
Last season Rudiger kept 11 cleans sheets in 19 games for Chelsea with 119 recoveries, a 74% tackle success rate and an 89.4% pass success percentage nearly 10% better than Lascelles best ever season and around 13% better than Fernandez last season.
Whoever takes over the helm at St James’ Park is inheriting a squad poorly built for a single ‘stylistic approach ‘Bruce Ball’ and will have to spend to adapt the squad to a style of play that will get the Geordie Boys doing more than crying into their Infamous Magpie as Ciaran Clark misplaces a two-yard pass to let the opposition through on goal.
3 – James Tavernier
Conte is not afraid of an older signing if it immediately offers him suitability to his system and improves the balance of the squad, additionally, Gerrard [another of the bookies’ current favourites for the position of Newcastle United manager] has built success on minimal rotation and player loyalty, both of these appointments set up the perfect conditions for a return back to where it all started for Ranger’s star full back James Tavernier.
84 SPFL goal contributions in just 161 games from a wing-back position, Tavernier is proven at being capable of fast-paced transitional play both with and without possession as well as being unrivalled in Scotland from set-pieces. Wing Backs are the most important piece of Conte’s system however as proven by Victor Moses he is more than capable of helping turn players into the best version of themselves in this role as long as they commit to the system and the project.
Assuming a switch to Conte’s preferred 3-5-2, Newcastle hero Allan Saint-Maximin would either need to be utilised as the second smaller striker [similar to that of Lautaro Martinez at Inter Milan] in a two alongside a taller less mobile striker [hopefully not Joelinton] or as an attacking Wing Back similar to Perisic in Conte’s Inter Milan side.
Tavernier would offer the perfect suitability for Conte’s right-hand side with a very similar playing style to that of Achraf Hakimi and offering the ability to attack high against weaker defences such as Norwich or to offer set-piece coverage to break down better defences such as Chelsea’s or to break down deep-lying blocks such as Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
2 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
If Joelinton or Andy Carroll are leading Newcastle United’s line in 2022 as Antonio Conte’s big man striker, then the financial takeover will have gone horribly wrong. From Fernando Llorente to Romelu Lukaku and Diego Costa, if there is one thing Antonio Conte loves . . .it’s big strikers.
Building a homegrown core squad with sustainability for years to come will be the key to building a Newcastle United squad that could possibly win a Premier League title within five years, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a Premier League proven striker with the skillset needed to play off the smaller abilities of someone like Jonathan David or ASM without being without some pace himself.
DCL has hit double digits the last two seasons in the Premier League with 19 goal contributions in 2876 minutes during the 2020/21 campaign or a goal contribution every 1.6 games in an underwhelming Everton squad contributing towards 40% of ‘The Toffees’ 47 league goals.
Dynamic off and on the ball and an incredible aerial threat from both open play and as an indirect free kick threat, DCL would suit Conte’s specific tactical set-up but also has the skillset and flexibility to adapt to most managers systems and offensive approach.
1 – Nicolò Barella
Newcastle United have a very mismatched and interesting set of central midfield options, with Longstaff, Willock and Almiron covering a range of progressive options but without any of them screaming technical prowess or match intelligence. The narrow midfielders in Conte’s 3-5-2 are three components of a machine that must have the match reading ability to work in tandem with each other and to progress the ball and retain control of the match whilst understanding the tactical requirements of their role.
Nicolò Barella is without a doubt one of the most exciting and intelligent young midfielders in world football and has spoken incredibly highly on his time working with Conte and the legendary manager certainly reciprocates the love, comparing Barella to Jorginho and Marco Verratti whilst discussing Italy’s Euro 2020 line up.
“If we compare him to Verratti or Jorginho, the two of them are good at playing with the ball between their feet, but they don’t have the same energy as Barella. I think Italy’s midfield with the three of them is complete.”
If the potential wages that Newcastle United’s new owners could offer isn’t enough to lure Barella to Newcastle then it’s very possible working with ‘The Godfather’ again will be enough to confirm the deal.
Barella would slot in as Newcastle United’s box-to-box midfielder contributing to every phase of play, something he did with ease in the Serie A putting up 2.8 tackles, 1.2 key passes, 1.2 dribbles and 1.5 shots per game during the 2018/19 Serie A campaign.
Newcastle could go out and sign a world-class defensive midfielder or a superb attacking midfielder, but much like Claude Makelele at Madrid, there is no need for more parts on a Rolls Royce if you don’t have the engine.
The truth is, if Newcastle United want to win the Premier League then they could probably do with 9/10 new players in their starting eleven, however, thinking about FFP and reality for the next year we think that these five players could begin the paradigm shift that sees ‘The Magpies’ achieve the success their passionate, loud and loyal fanbase deserves.