Doubts raised about Newcastle United’s takeover as PIF face major FFP/PSR obstacle

Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-RumayyanNewcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Newcastle United were unable to spend during the January transfer window due to FFP/PSR restrictions

Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks has questioned whether Newcastle United’s takeover can ever live up to its true potential. Mike Ashley’s departure in October 2021 confirmed the Magpies as having the world’s richest owners. The Public Investment Fund - Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth reserve - acquired an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle.

Their pot is estimated to be worth a cool £700billion but expenditure on Tyneside has needed to be methodical. While investment has increased since Ashley’s ownership, FFP/PSR restrictions have held Newcastle back.

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Long gone are the days of Sheikh Mansour jetting into Manchester City and transforming them into Premier League winners in under four years. BBC pundit Crooks believes the Saudi-backed regime are facing obstacles when trying to “assemble” a world-class squad.

“If Newcastle are going to compete with the best teams, they will need a bigger squad,” he said. “With Financial Fair Play rules hovering over everyone's head it's going to be very difficult to assemble the squad their owners can clearly afford.”

Crooks also hailed Toon favourite Bruno Guimaraes following the 1-0 win over Fulham. The Brazilian - who has been linked with a move from St James’ Park amid FFP/PSR concerns - bagged the only goal of the game to keep Newcastle’s European dream alive.

“He's been a revelation for the team since he arrived at St James' Park,” Crooks added when naming Guimaraes in his team of the week. “The fans love him and his team can't do without him. Guimaraes scored Newcastle's winner against Fulham on his 100th appearance for the club.

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“Manager Eddie Howe's impromptu pep talk during the first half, where he pulled his players together and gave them what appeared to be a rocket, seemed to do the trick. This has been a difficult season for the Magpies and they navigated the first part of it very well.”

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