As the takeover at Newcastle United edges closer, speculation as to what they could do with their new found billions in the transfer window is rife.
The Magpies have been linked with moves for a whole of host of footballing stars since news of the potential takeover broke. Some of it serious, others somewhat tongue in cheek.
Nonetheless, there is a mistake that a lot of teams with newfound wealth tend to adopt in their early days.
Using China as an example, teams with newly-inflated bank balances often look towards aging stars on mega deals looking for one last pay packet before they call it a career and hang up the boots.
The new Newcastle owners simply MUST be smart and avoid falling into that.
Names such as Arturo Vidal, Edinson Cavani and Willian have all been linked in the last few days. Quite frankly, as great as these three are, it’s not where Newcastle should be looking.
United should be looking at players who can help the club in the long-term. Players who want to be at the club because they respect the history and traditions of the Tynesiders – not because they look at Saudia Arabian owners and see dollar signs.
While talk of signing Kylian Mbappe and the likes is good fun for the fans, even in a best case scenario wherein the follow a similar path to Manchester City, they’re at least a decade away from signings like that being even a remote possibility.
For now, players with pedigree, youth and a genuine will to be part of a long-term project. I think, much the way Manchester City did in 2008, a marquee big name signing could be a great PR move in the early stages.
While the likes of Cavani or Vidal would give Newcastle that, it’s not the type of deal the club need to be looking at making a habit. You don’t get to the top by paying over the odds for washed up stars a shadow of their former selves.
For me personally, the marquee signing should be somebody like Jack Grealish. He’s a big name, he’s somebody the fans all know and if they persuaded him to come to Tyneside, it’d turn heads across the nation. It’d be a tough deal to do with some fierce competition – but what a statement it would be to pull it off.
While this is all mere speculation, it’s important for the news owners (pending Premier League approval) to make sure they get their approach correct in the early days.
If they really are serious about taking Newcastle to the next level, then the worst thing they can do is turn it into the a holiday resort for washed up former superstars looking for one last pay cheque.