Newcastle United are ready to embark on a new voyage where being economical and budget-friendly will seem like a crime. Exciting times await the Magpies, with their long-awaited big-money takeover finally completed, making the club one of the richest entities in world football.
Mike Ashley's 14-year-old tenure as the owner of Newcastle United has ended in what has been the longest takeover saga of ownership for any Premier League club. The takeover could have been completed last year but stalled due to Premier League concerns.
Now, however, after finding middle ground with broadcaster BeIN Sports, the club's 80 per cent stake will rest with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Newcastle United are gearing up for a new chapter
No more relegation battles or flirting with average players and bargain buys. No more appointing cheap and easily available managers with little ambition and no experience to fight for silverware. The time has come for Newcastle United to show their ambitious side and with the involvement of Saudi money, there is a great possibility they are destined to do it.
The first place to begin will be to bring home a manager with an appetite for success. Newcastle's unconvincing start to the season has only added to the pressure that Steve Bruce faced last year as well. It's only a matter of time before he's shown the door and it could happen very soon.
On that note, here are the five managers Newcastle United must target in the wake of their big-money takeover:
#5 Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard is a Chelsea man through and through and one could say he still dreams of taking Thomas Tuchel's job at Stamford Bridge. But here is an opportunity that will be equally rewarding in terms of money, if not more, and could be a stepping stone for Lampard to repair his tarnished reputation.
Newcastle United would clearly require bringing in quality players and this time they would not have to worry about being cautious with spending every pound. Lampard was in a similar situation when Chelsea's transfer ban was lifted and he went on a shopping spree. Although he was sacked midway through, Chelsea won the Champions League under Tuchel's management.
The former Chelsea boss has shown that he knows how to build a progressive team. Additionally, he would have learned from his mistakes at Chelsea after watching Tuchel employ his men in various positions with a different system.
Newcastle United fans have been demanding that their side get rid of players with a defensive mindset and bring in offensive players to play on the front foot. Lampard could be at the heart of this rebuild and being a legend himself, he can build a connection with the Newcastle United fanbase as well. The big question is, are we going to see Mason Mount in black and white then?
#4 Andrea Pirlo
If your club has harbored a player like Jonjo Shelvey among your ranks, you can't dream of a midfielder of Andrea Pirlo's stature playing for your team. However, Newcastle United could yet acquire the services of a legendary figure like Pirlo to mark the beginning of a new era under the Saudi Arabian regime as their manager.
Pirlo led Juventus to a fourth-place finish last year. An early exit in Round of 16 of the Champions League saw him receive a lot of criticism. However, the inexperienced manager took over an aging squad that was backed by little depth.
Juventus' financial struggles were clearly not going to be easy for Pirlo to function under, something that returning manager Max Allegri is also struggling with. At Newcastle United, the case will be different, the financial freedom will be unlike anything Juventus could have provided and he will have a chance to blend youth with experience in his own way.
For a new manager like Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo's presence at a club that pretends to have ambitions in the Champions League wasn't making it easy to implement his philosophy. Newcastle United are a club that has no expectations in Europe at the moment, which will be advantageous for Pirlo as he could focus purely on just domestic competition.
#3 Paulo Fonseca
Newcastle United need a man capable of handling the club in tough times as well, unlike Steve Bruce who has crumbled. There are two things that we know for sure about Paulo Fonseca. One, that he is a great cosplay artist (dressed as Zorro in a press conference!). Two, he knows how to manage a football club and perform with limited restrictions.
He's not going to need that limited restrictions exercise at Newcastle United but managing the club while cosplaying could be fun. Jokes apart, Fonseca was very close to sealing a deal with Tottenham Hotspur in the summer before the start of the 2021-22 campaign but the move broke down.
Clearly, if he can be good for a Spurs side, he is going to be a big upgrade for Newcastle United fans who are tired at the sight of poor Bruce. But Newcastle United shouldn't be targeting Fonseca just because a better Premier League side wanted his signature too.
The Portuguese comes with proven credentials, especially with teams that aren't the most dominant sides. In 2018, as manager of Shakhtar Donetsk, he laid out a plan which saw his team shockingly proceed to Round of 16 of the Champions League. In the group stages, they earned impressive victories against Manchester City and Napoli. He managed Shakhtar for 139 games and won 104 of them, losing only 18.
If it wasn't for AS Roma's injury-laden squad last year, he could have helped them finish higher in Serie A as well. Newcastle United will be getting a manager who isn't all about buying big offensive players and going on all out attack. He assesses the situation quite carefully, and lays out tactics that will be best for a given day.
#2 Steven Gerrard
After Rangers were crowned the invincible champions of the Scottish top-flight, many Liverpool fans started dreaming of the day when Steven Gerrard would take charge at Anfield. That day might just have shifted a little bit further on the scheduling chart as Newcastle United hunt for their next manager.
Gerrard, unlike his contemporary Frank Lampard, did not jump at the first opportunity to take charge at a big top-4 club. He went the route that the disciple, a man trying to learn a trade takes.
In a comparatively low-profile league, he took charge of Rangers who were trying to end the dominance of arch-rivals Celtic. That learning curve which ended in Rangers becoming champions could make all the difference for Newcastle United. At the Scottish club, 'Stevie G' has so far overseen 185 games, winning 120, sharing the spoils 38 times and losing on 27 instances.
The former Liverpool man built a side that was capable of playing an attacking game in a 4-3-3 setup, which the Newcastle United faithful are crying for. Under his management, Rangers have recently been contesting in Europe and have put up a hard fight while trying to punch above their weight.
This is quite far fetched for Newcastle United right now. However, under Saudi Arabian ownership they are looking to the promise of a bright future and Europe will be a part of it. Under Steve Bruce the Magpies have leaked goals like anything, and Gerrard fixed that problem very effectively at Rangers, maybe this is a match made in heaven.
#1 Antonio Conte
If a Newcastle United fan is currently reading this, you, my friend, must have a wide, wide smile on your face reading that name. He is demanding, he does not bow down to the hierarchies, he has his own way, but Antonio Conte is a serial winner and that cannot be disputed.
It will be a big coup should Newcastle United really manage to pull this one off but Conte will be right at the top of their target list. His CV is as fancy and envious as they come. Starting with making Bari the champions of Serie B, he later guided Juventus to four consecutive Serie A titles from 2011-14.
The Italian added the latest Scudetto to his cabinet last season with Inter Milan, a team that was a true reflection of his identity. Newcastle United would be really lucky to have someone like Conte, who could give them an identity and an aggressive nature.
His winning pedigree with Chelsea was on display and only added to his boastful credentials when he won the Premier League and FA Cup with them. In his 102 matches in charge of Inter Milan, he won 64, drew 23 and lost 15.
Conte is a man with a temper and the Saudi Arabians aren't known to be the easiest people to put up with themselves. Will Newcastle United be taking a risk by appointing the most successful manager on this list? That is, of course, if he agrees to take up the reigns at St James' Park in the first place.
Q. Can Newcastle United taste success under their new ownership?
58 votes so far