Since the remarkable 2012 season when they finished sixth, Newcastle United have failed to live up to the expectations. In the years since, they’ve been relegated once and finished in the bottom half seven times.
In October 2021, 'The Magpies' were bought by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund in a deal worth £300 million. It proved to uplift morale as they moved from the bottom of the league to finish the season in eleventh place.
The appointment of Eddie Howe as head coach and the signings of Keiran Trippier, Chris Wood, Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes improved the club and led to an impressive second half of the season in which they accumulated 38 points.
With their owners being the richest in European football, the Magpies were expected to have a summer spending spree. Their appointment of Dan Ashworth as sporting director shows that the club have a vision.
Recently, Sven Botman of LOSC Lille moved to the Magpies for €37 million.
Newcastle are likely to strengthen their squad, especially at right wing and defensive midfield. However, the new season is crucial for the Magpies. Of course, it would be ludicrous to expect them to fight the top six for a Champions League spot immediately, but their performances in the league will serve as an omen of what is yet to come.
Here are four reasons why the Magpies have an important season ahead.
#4. The Newcastle Project
Newcastle's long-term goal of establishing themselves amongst the elites of the league and increasing club stature can be gauged next season. They aim to finish in the top half and improve their overall quality throughout the season. They will also be looking to play quality football and upset the big six.
The club will hope that the sporting director and the manager get along well. The dynamic between the two figures would be integral to the team's on-field performance.
The changes on the field don’t need to be drastic. Even if they underperform, there’s no need to panic as the newly-rich club can acquire capable reinforcements. But they do need all the pieces to come together so that they'd have something to build upon.
#3. Breaking into the top eight
On paper, Newcastle don’t have the quality to break into the top eight. Teams like Leicester City, West Ham United, and Wolverhampton Wanders have better coaches and personnel. However, if they exceed expectations and break into the top eight, 'The Magpies' can pat themselves on the back for a fantastic season.
A better season than a top-eight finish is a top-seven finish which will see them play in the UEFA Conference league. At the moment, it’s purely speculation, and although it’s difficult to achieve, it isn't impossible.
#2. Eyes on Europe
Newcastle fans haven’t seen their side host a European football match since 2013, when their side fell against Benfica. If 'The Magpies' could climb the Premier League table, their european objectives would enter the picture.
If they finish anywhere near the top six, that could attract some elite players and change the unhappy perception of the club as a fringe competitor.
#1. Possible destination for elite players
Fans were eager to see Newcastle go on a shopping spree and convince elite players to join their side. Although they have adequate funds, the lack of player pull given the club's stature makes it hard to recruit the very best at the moment.
However, players will be sure to keep an eye on the project in Newcastle. If the club shows progress, it becomes more likely that world-class players will finally come to St. James' Park.
This season is the start of a new era at Newcastle. Where do you think they go from here?