Newcastle takeover huge concern for Arsenal and Tottenham as finance expert makes Man City claim

By Alan Smith

Newcastle United fans getting excited by the prospect of Kylian Mbappe or other superstars ending up at St James’ Park now their club will be under the controversial ownership of Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund should not let their hopes of instant change get too high.

But there are clear reasons for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur fans to become concerned about the potential of a new rival attempting to join European football’s super elite.

The takeover is expected to be confirmed in the coming hours after the Premier League gave the go ahead for unpopular owner Mike Ashley to sell the North East club.

Rather than an overnight transformation there is expected to be gradual growth on Tyneside, with financial experts suggesting that it will take several years for the club to become capable of challenging at the very top.

Manchester City did not win their first Premier League title until four years into Abu Dhabi’s ownership and the gulf between Champions League clubs and the chasing pack has widened since, illustrated by Chelsea banking more than £100million in prize money for last season's triumph in Porto.

Yet the medium-term objective for Newcastle is to become a contender and that may leave Arsenal and Tottenham, who are both in a stage of transition on the pitch as they seek to remain in touch with the current top four, looking anxiously over their shoulders at a club who will have the richest owners in world football.

"It’s not going to be a huge change overnight," John Purcell, from financial analysts vysyble, says. "Manchester City needed four years to win the title. Some people could argue it is a short period of time but the degree of investment that went in was enormous. It’s not going to be as fast as fans would like to see but at the same time there will be changes."

At the same time Newcastle can spend freely because they are well under the financial fair play limits set by the Premier League, which specifies that clubs are allowed to post losses of £105million across three years with 2020 and 2021 fused together as a result of the pandemic. In a three-year period up to 2020, the club made a profit of about £80million.

“The club has a lot of room to manoeuvre,” Purcell says. “Their transfer activity over the past few years has been limited compared to other clubs so I don’t see there being an immediate issue there. Certainly not in January. Once things have settled down the summer could be lively for them but it depends on what their perspective is and the immediate challenge must be to not get relegated.

“From an FFP standpoint, I can’t see any issues at the moment. Unless they actually buy the market - which I don’t think they will - we don’t foresee any issues.”

Arsenal and Spurs remain well clear of Newcastle in terms of their commercial muscle but the added attention on a club with a significant fanbase will lead to that gap also being closed as sponsors see an opportunity to get on board, while Spurs in particular will be hamstrung in the short-term due to the repayment of loans for their £1.2billion stadium. The Gunners' latest accounts and recent off-field redundancies point to this past summer's transfer spend of close to £150million being an outlier.

Ashley, who bought the club in 2007, has been regularly lambasted for a chronic lack of investment in the team and the alienation of supporters. But the tight financial manner in which he has run the club has left strong foundations for the new owners.

Purcell adds: “If there’s one advantage of Ashley’s ownership, it’s financially being run as a reasonably tight ship. So the new owners are actually coming into a pretty good position in terms of the financial side of things and that gives them a little bit more leeway going forward in the transfer market.

“One of the things that is quite clear at Newcastle is it’s financially reasonably well run. The only big losses it incurred was when the club was relegated. Obviously getting promoted the following season cost a lot of money.”

At the same time they face challenges in terms of luring big names to a club that currently sit 19th in the Premier League table and without a win. That points to the January window, which sees few stars move and an inflated price placed on ordinary talent, not producing the fireworks Newcastle supporters may be dreaming of. Instead they might have to wait until the summer.

“Let’s assume the process is completed today or tomorrow, can things change immediately?” Purcell says. “These things take time to put in place, get the right people into the right positions and make sure the new strategy will be correctly applied. Does it mean Newcastle will have a huge pot of money for January?

“We’re already in the middle of October so I’d imagine the new owners and management team coming in will have plans already but January is notorious for the lack of available talent. They are second from bottom after seven games, the challenge is not to get relegated.”


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