sport news CRAIG HOPE: Canny Newcastle are refusing to be held to ransom as they build for ... trends now

sport news CRAIG HOPE: Canny Newcastle are refusing to be held to ransom as they build for ... trends now
sport news CRAIG HOPE: Canny Newcastle are refusing to be held to ransom as they build for ... trends now

sport news CRAIG HOPE: Canny Newcastle are refusing to be held to ransom as they build for ... trends now

With pockets deeper than the oil fields from which they drill their black gold, Newcastle United’s Saudi Arabian owners should, logic dictates, be able to afford the £50million or so it would take to sign Leicester City’s James Maddison.

Affordability, though, is not the issue. Profit and Sustainability, as the Premier League call their spending rules, is the limiting factor. With losses capped at £105m over three years, there are well-defined restrictions on what the club can invest in players.

Manager Eddie Howe warned as much in May and said last week, ‘I hope you realise now I was telling the truth’, as he again outlined the modest budget he has.

Eddie Howe's side will not be held to ransom over transfer fees after becoming the world's richest club

Eddie Howe's side will not be held to ransom over transfer fees after becoming the world's richest club

‘Financial Fair Play impacts us and will continue to do so for a number of years,’ he said. ‘We haven’t got the free rein that has been perceived within the media, that we can go and sign who we want and pay extortionate fees and wages.’

There is, of course, scope to spend more — the Premier League would not step in and bar them from signing any player — and they could front-load their rolling three-year allowance, banking on increased revenue in that period.

Ex-Brighton defender Dan Burn cost the club £13million

Ex-Brighton defender Dan Burn cost the club £13million

But the Saudi-backed owners, led in the UK by Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben, along with sporting director Dan Ashworth and Howe, are united in their resolve to only spend the right amount on the right player at the right time. They want the next Neymar, not the overpriced, declining, real thing.

In that regard, they have got their recruitment spot on so far, barely wasting a penny of the £150m invested in seven players. In six months, that is not an insignificant sum, either.

Still, though, debate rages between supporters as to why the ‘richest club in the world’ are said to have a maximum of £40m left to invest this summer. Is it all a clever tactic to kid people?

Kieran Maguire, a finance lecturer and host of The Price of Football podcast, says not.

‘They’re trying not to max out on FFP in the first year of ownership,’ he tells Sportsmail. ‘Then, they would have no leeway, nowhere to go in 2023 and 2024. They have seen the mess at Everton, which is a stark reminder of what can happen if you spend money badly. What Newcastle need to do now is grow their revenues, allowing them to incrementally spend more on transfers.’

Nick Pope joined the Magpies this summer following relegation with Burnley last season

Nick Pope joined the Magpies this summer following relegation with Burnley last season

Ashworth’s arrival, and that of chief executive Darren Eales, should see a big improvement in off-the-field operations at a club which, pre-takeover, was existing to exist.

‘Dan Ashworth is the best

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