In 10 years’ time, we could potentially be talking about Newcastle United as reigning Premier League champions.
The Magpies are on the cusp of a £300 million takeover backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Current owner Mike Ashley has left supporters disillusioned with his failure to properly support various managers in the transfer window but that could all be about to change if the takeover goes through.
ESPN reported this week that the prospective new owners are eager to appoint a high-profile manager such as Mauricio Pochettino or Massimiliano Allegri, while Edinson Cavani and Dries Mertens are among the players on their wish-list.
So, what sort of team could Newcastle build?
There’s no doubt that this team would be competition for domestic and European honours.
Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczesny, Freddie Woodman, Willy Caballero
Szczesny has done wonders to his reputation with Juventus and is tipped to return to the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Woodman remains at St James’ Park as the conveyor belt goes off around him.
Right-backs: Kyle Walker, Mattia De Sciglio, Jamie Sterry
Walker will be in his 30s come 2022 and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s left Manchester City by then.
He’ll face competition at right-back from current Juventus full-back De Sciglio, although the Italian could also play at left-back.
Youth product Sterry still finds himself at the club, although he won’t be starting.
Centre-backs: Phil Jones, John Stones, Fabian Schar, Leonardo Bonucci
Man City weren’t able to build a whole group of superstars right away after their takeover in 2008; Wayne Bridge, Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong were among the players they signed in 2009.
And it’ll be the same for Newcastle, who bring in Phil Jones - a player with experience at the highest level.
Stones’ future at Man City has looked shaky for a while and he joins Jones in Newcastle.
Schar is another survivor, although he may no longer earn a spot in the starting line-up.
Top-level experiences arrives in the form of Bonucci, although he turns 35 in 2022 and will be close to retirement.
You can imagine Newcastle paying Bonucci some nice wages for a player whose best years will be far behind him.
Left-backs: Lucas Digne, Paul Dummett
Digne will be a nice signing for Newcastle’s manager. He’s among the top left-backs in England.
He shouldn’t face much competition from Dummett, either.
Central-midfielders: Jack Grealish, Arturo Vidal, Martin Odegaard, Jonjo Shelvey, Matty Longstaff
Manchester United are reportedly keen to sign Grealish but The Irish Guy thinks he’ll be a Newcastle player instead in 2022.
The current Aston Villa star will be entering his peak years then. Newcastle fans would love him.
Vidal is past his best but he has played at a high level for many years. A nice pay packet could convince the Chilean to spend some years in England.
Add Odegaard to a midfield that includes Grealish and Newcastle could be the most exciting team to watch in Europe. He’s only 21 years old and has been terrific for Real Sociedad this season, to the extent that it’ll be hard to convince Real Madrid to sell him.
Shelvey, meanwhile, signed a three-year contract extension last month, taking him to 2023. However with the talent Newcastle are predicted to add around him, game time could be a luxury.
The same could be said for Longstaff.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Allan Saint-Maximin, Federico Bernardeschi, Matt Ritchie
Newcastle will really prove their intent if they can pull off a deal for Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund star is wanted by every major club in Europe. For Newcastle to beat out the competition for him would be quite something.
Saint-Maximin has already established himself as a fan-favourite at Newcastle, although with the calibre of players the new owners are bringing in, he’ll be under pressure to maintain a spot in the starting line-up if he can’t improve upon his goal record.
Bernardeschi has been tipped to leave Juventus this summer and he could link up once again with Allegri at Newcastle.
Ritchie will still be on the books but we’re guessing he’ll only feature in cup matches.
Strikers: Luka Jovic, Ayoze Perez, Troy Parrott
Real Madrid saw fit to spend €70m on Jovic in 2019 but his first season in Spain has been a disappointment.
Who knows, maybe Newcastle could snap up a player no longer wanted at the Bernabeu.
He could form a strike partnership with former Magpie Perez, who has shone for Leicester City. Perez spent five seasons at St James’ Park and would be welcome back.
Parrott can’t get much action under Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur and it would certainly be in Newcaste’s best interests to snap up a player tipped to have a bright future in the game.
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