‘Some clubs in Europe see Newcastle United as a bit of a bogeyman’ - Euro football expert interview

European football Andy Brassell believes Newcastle United will prioritise strengthening their infrastructure before making big moves in the summer transfer market.

The Magpies were the highest spenders in Europe during January after releasing an outlay of around £90million to take Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Bruno Guimaraes and Chris Wood to Tyneside.

Work has quickly turned towards adding more experience behind the scenes to improve the skeletal-like infrastructure left behind by the club’s former owner.

Whereas the scope of former managing director Lee Charnley’s work was stretched across several roles, the PIF-led consortium are looking to bring in more key figures at all levels of the club.

Co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi are currently overseeing the day-to-day running of the club, but moves are being made to strengthen the infrastructure.

Negotiations with Premier League rivals Brighton are ongoing as United look to appoint Dan Ashworth as a technical director and several candidates have been identified for the vacant chief executive role.

Speaking as recently as this weekend, co-owner Staveley discussed the plans to improve the club’s training facilities and academy and to invest in the Newcastle United Women’s side.

Brassell believes the club’s owners are moving in the right direction to ensure the ambitious project at St James Park becomes a success.

He told NewcastleWorld: “I think they’ve done well not jumping in and buying 12 or 13 players before having the infrastructure in place.

“There is a difference between accepting you will spend a lot of money and accepting how you have got to spend it.

“If they spend a lot, it’s not really that important, it’s about doing it right.

“It’ll be different when Dan Ashworth is involved because they will have the experience on board and they can take their time to grow.

“Newcastle are working on that by putting a football infrastructure in place and maybe that’s what some people outside of the city don’t realise.

“The team, how uninspiring it’s been on and off the pitch for a number of years, it’s the tip of the iceberg and you look at the training facilities, all those other bits that haven’t been looked after.

“Even more than buying big players, making that effort to connect with the community will be central to this project working.

“They understand how these little wins, these easy wins like improving the women’s team and having a desire to understand the community, they are why the project will work.

“This is why the owners are liked and the reason supporters and the community will buy into the project.”

‘Some clubs in Europe see Newcastle as a bit of a bogeyman, but most see it as an opportunity’

Brassell was on Tyneside last weekend as part of a La Liga TV event held at the Old George Inn.

The event marked the broadcast of El Gran Derbi between local rivals Real Betis and Sevilla and saw supporters of both clubs from home and abroad take in the game at one of Newcastle’s oldest pubs.

Any Magpies supporters in attendances would have witnessed a disciplined performance from Newcastle transfer target Diego Carlos, who played the first 45 minutes of a 2-1 win for Sevilla.

Terry Gibson (right) and Andy Brassell on stage at Sunday’s La Liga TV event at the Old George Inn.

United made several bids for the Brazilian centre-back during January and could revisit the deal at the end of the season as they look to strengthen their defensive options.

Other targets have been identified with further attempts to lure Lille’s highly-rated Dutch centre-back Sven Botman to Tyneside also said to be on the agenda.

Both Sevilla and Lille resisted bids for two of their key players during the January window - and Brassell believes a successful deal made by the Magpies may have impacted the outlook of both clubs.

“Some clubs in Europe see Newcastle as a bit of a bogeyman, but most see it as an opportunity,” he explained.

“If you go back around five or six years, when the last Premier League TV deal was, in France and Spain, there was a sense of playing a different sport.

“Then there were higher to mid-range French clubs that saw opportunity in selling a player and covering their budget for the season.

“There was a Premier League tax put on players and that’s already happening in Europe.

“The most influential transfer in Europe in January was Chris Wood to Newcastle.

“Even though it was a move between two Premier League clubs, it was the moment when Newcastle couldn’t play hardball anymore.

“Executives like Monchi (Sevilla sporting director) and others in Italy and France wouldn’t stand for Newcastle saying they had no money because that deal proved otherwise.

“I think there will be the Premier League tax on players but then the Newcastle United tax too.

“They’ll have to pay a little bit more than other clubs because of their situation and Manchester City and Chelsea have experienced that in the aftermath of their high-profile takeovers.”

‘I have not seen Newcastle spoken about in European circles for a couple of decades, it’s amazing really’

Brassell - who has covered games across Europe for several major outlets throughout his career - is excited by the prospect of a newly-energised Newcastle.

Although many onlookers have suggested attracting the bigger names to the North East will prove difficult, Brassell insisted the Magpies successful move for Lyon’s highly-rated Brazilian playmaker Bruno Guimaraes was a signal of intent.

The Brazilian international midfielder was eyed by a number of Europe’s biggest clubs but is now settling into life on Tyneside and made a major impact by netting a stunning winner on his full debut at Southampton on Thursday night.

Newcastle Bruno Guimaraes in action on his league debut during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St. James Park on February 08, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

At the age of just 24, Guimaraes fits the profile of an up-and-coming, exciting player that Brassell believes will become the norm at St James Park over the coming years.

He said: “I have not seen Newcastle spoken about in European circles for a couple of decades, it’s amazing really.

“The idea of Newcastle, that people outside of the city have, even in England, is way different to the reality.

“People thinking it’s nearly Scotland, right out of the way, always cold.

“That’s not fair, it’s not factual or reasonable, it’s a lingering perception and it will take time to change.

“What we saw with Manchester City was that they needed a couple of big dominoes to fall and they were players with history and respect, that changed things.

“That’s why the Bruno Guimaraes deal was so big because this is a player they paid a lot of money for, but not an unreasonable amount.

“He is someone that will convince other players that Newcastle know what they are doing and good players of the future and present will want to go there.

“They want this image of being young, enthusiastic, up and coming as a club, and it makes sense they are targeting players in that mould.”