What is surprising about Jurgen Klopp and his recent insistence on Newcastle United being one of the three clubs ‘who can do what they want financially’ has little to do with what he said than what he said. The best teams have the deepest pockets, and as difficult as the concept is to grasp after a long decade of jaded ambition and limited spending, this is clearly a marked area at St James’ Park.
“Newcastle don’t have a cap. Congratulations, but some other clubs have caps,” Klopp said, and in a few years the Liverpool manager may well be right. The plan is to play regularly in Europe, compete and win, and with the financial clout of the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Investment Fund, its 80% owners behind them, Newcastle have both the will and the resources to make that happen.
In this sense, a fair and fairly fair game. Newcastle fans can get used to it, as can fans of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, other members of Klopp’s wealth axis. Buying success and concluding that it tramples on craftsmanship and nuance is a well-established accusation, and one that is only reinforced in an age of ownership that includes sovereign wealth funds. In most cases, money is won.
And who can argue with the basic claim that Newcastle have been spending money on new players since their takeover was ratified 12 months ago? The roughly £90m they invested in January was more than any other club in the world. Threatened with relegation, they stayed on their feet and then started again this summer, breaking their transfer record by signing Alexander Isak for £60m, bringing their total outlay to £200m (£232m). dollars).
.less. Newcastle may be ahead of their own schedule, but they stormed the Premier League with their diamond-encrusted bulldozer.
Aside from watching a Spurs game on TV in a pub with a friend who isn’t really a football fan and trying (and failing) to explain why seeing Newcastle at the helm of an exciting competition between two deserving teams, it’s still so perfect. oblivious, he reinforced the idea that Klopp could hardly be more wrong. Money will always be associated with the Newcastle story from now on, but it’s far from the only story.
Anyway, everything has a context, including money. In the two transfer windows before the takeover, Newcastle only signed players named Joe Willock. The core of their team hasn’t changed since the promotion in 2017 and these players have aged and fallen in value. Selling to buy was not an option as they had almost nothing to sell. The investment was necessary because it followed a lack of investment. In part, it was a correction. In part, there was no alternative.
The truly remarkable part of that 2-1 win over Tottenham and a performance that Eddie Howe called “probably the best” of his time at the club was not just how different Newcastle have become in terms of quality and perspective, but how much remains the same. Six members of the starting team, more than half, in other words, predate the arrival of the head coach and predate the flow of money.
‘Playing like (Miguel) Almiron’, that well-oiled Jack Grealish move, now means scoring more goals than Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Salah this season. Fabian Schar, who cost £3m, is crucial to the Premier League’s tighter defence. Joelinton surely represents the biggest change in form and fortune in Newcastle history. Sean Longstaff is once again the dynamic midfielder who stood out with Rafa Benítez. Willock is box-to-box energy.