No longer the richest: How Newcastle’s potential takeover will affect Manchester City

Newcastle United are set to finally become the “next” Manchester City, with a reported takeover in the works from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which has a net worth of £320 billion—making the consortium nearly 14 times richer than City owner Sheikh Mansour.

After years of struggle and complacency under controversial owner Mike Ashley, Newcastle United appear poised to ascend to the summit of the Premier League with one of the richest owners in the history of the sport.

Alongside Paris Saint-Germain, the Magpies appear set to become the richest club in the world and have been linked with several top players and managers if the takeover is completed. After 12 years since Abu Dhabi’s takeover at City and the immense success that followed, there have been near-constant rumors of which club would follow in their footsteps, and it appears that the sleeping giant of Newcastle could be that team.

They have the history, stadium, and support worthy of top-level European football, but several questions remain. First and foremost is the institution that is Financial Fair Play. With UEFA adopting a hardline stance on the policy, which states that clubs cannot outspend what they bring in, the new owners will quickly need to find a way to make Newcastle competitive commercially with some of the world’s biggest clubs.

One way to do so would be to simply ignore the rule; bringing in a rapid influx of superstar talent will generate fans and revenue, and getting into the Champions League or putting up a Premier League title challenge will quickly escalate Newcastle’s commercial potential. The FFP process is not immediate, so they will have time to prepare and will have nearly unlimited resources to defend themselves should UEFA come knocking, and by that time, it would be too late.

Another key concern is whether or not the bubble that is the top of the Premier League can become oversaturated. There already exists a “Big Six” hierarchy that traditionally has dominated the top end of the table, and now with the league’s new “Middle Class” consisting of clubs such as Leicester and Wolves competing for European places, is there enough room in the European places for an upstart such as Newcastle?

Success in English football is fluid, so it stands to reason that a fading Big Six club such as Tottenham or even Arsenal could become more of a mid-tier team while Newcastle joins the traditional elite. In the eyes of many, Manchester City will be perhaps best poised to compete with the financial might of the Saudi-funded Magpies, but if opposition fans accused City of overspending or “buying the league”, they’ve seen absolutely nothing yet.

If allowed to flex their full financial muscle, Newcastle could assemble one of the greatest teams of the modern era in English football. City were able to become the first English team to reach 100 points and the first to win a domestic treble within just 11 years of the takeover. Now imagine what a club with nearly 14 times those resources could do, and it’s nearly unfathomable.

While we may not see a scenario where Newcastle make world-record fee transfers for the likes of Kylian Mbappé, they are now fully capable of doing so, and are a beast that could flip English football completely on its head. For all of Manchester City’s success in recent years, they laid the blueprint to awaken perhaps the biggest sleeping giant in football, and now, for the first time in years, they will battle without being the richest in England.

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