Will Sheikh Khaled's Newcastle takeover destabilise the Premier League?
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A new giant rises. Newcastle United last competed for the Premier League title more than two decades ago. It was under Kevin Keegan, and later Kenny Dalglish, when they lodged an intense fight against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Since then, a top-four finish has been achieved only twice.
In the early goings following the turn of the century, Newcastle was a mainstay amongst the top English sides. As their rivals grew stronger, their downfall led them into the bottom half. Two relegations later, their giant status has now mellowed significantly. However, following the frustrating years under Mike Ashley, a new owner is coming to wake them from the slumber.
Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is the latest Dubai businessman to grace the Premier League. The cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, a failed attempt to buy Liverpool left him embarrassed last year. He now aims to make the Magpies as big as their Northern rivals by injecting a huge monetary pulse.
However, this is no ordinary cash inflow. Sheikh Khaled is guaranteed to splash big finances to make huge waves. Newcastle made an £18.6million alleged profit from a £178.5million total turnover last year. Their new owners can spray that amount in transfer fees itself. They’re also mighty fond of Rafa Benitez’s work. The Spaniard might’ve been close to leaving beforehand. Although after getting the Sheikh’s assurances, he’ll probably extend his stay.
While Magpies’ fans will reach cloud nine becoming free from Ashley's torturous reign, this takeover doesn’t bode too well for others. The major reason for their downfall under Ashley was because they couldn’t compete financially with Premier League rivals. With a potential takeover, they can spend like the Manchester clubs or Liverpool.
Not only would a titanic shift take place in riches, but the Premier League’s landscape’s also set for a makeover. The traditional top-six conjured up in recent seasons could crumble down. For the new owners, a European finish and possibly a trophy are ideal objectives. If they indeed form a gigantic transfer budget for Benitez to utilise, he’ll use his resources to create a competitive squad. Newcastle won’t be emitting an “old-school”, cagey style anymore. They'll now be reaching for the skies with compelling, attacking football.
If the top-six teams want to reassure their dominance, they best beware of the Tyneside club’s steady rise. Manchester City’s empire wasn't built overnight. Similarly, the Magpies won’t be competing for top-four or the title immediately. However, given a few seasons to settle into this new system, they’ll gain ground onto the top unless measures are taken to defuse their flame.
Complacency from any big-six outlet could end in their catastrophe. It wouldn’t take much time for the revamped risers to dethrone them. Rafa Benitez broke La Liga’s wheel of dominance with Valencia. It wouldn’t be beyond him to break similar dominance in England again. The Spaniard will receive more funds by Sheikh Khaled than what his last six clubs could afford him.
He had to scourge talents for economical figures under Ashley’s stringent system, but those shackles will come off once a takeover is completed. The Magpies can make big money signings, spending over £50million for one transfer. What was their whole budget under Ashley could be spent on signing a revolutionary talent. Suddenly, Rafa can outbid Spurs or Arsenal for world-class players needed to making them top-four contenders.
However, spending too much invites trouble. As Financial Fairplay limits monetary malpractices, the Magpies cannot go crazy with their output. For a team who makes little profit, spending hundreds of millions can cause big problems. Manchester City is feeling UEFA’s wrath for incurred losses and impractical splurges. Sheikh Khaled’s side won’t rise as quickly as his cousin’s due to the authorities’ strict eyes.
Despite their slow growth, it’ll brew eventual trouble for mid-table hopefuls. The Magpies’ evolution could distort their European dreams. Leicester City, Bournemouth or Watford can act as mere spectators watching them join the high table. A takeover in Tyneside puts every Premier League side on notice. Newcastle United are the next big thing and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.