The Newcastle United takeover suffered another blow yesterday after the club confirmed the hearing of the arbitration process would be delayed until 2022, further dragging out what has been a painstakingly slow saga for supporters.
Now, there are some very valid concerns about the ethics of a state-backed takeover and it's important to reference them. However, wherever you stand on that particular debate, fans DO deserve better than to be kept waiting for something that may never actually ever happen.
A club who even their greatest player of all time has described as a 'hollow shell', Newcastle fans could be forgiven for thinking that the Mike Ashley era will simply never end.
While not to make the recent news even more galling for Newcastle supporters - who have had to put up with constant snipes from other fanbases as to their perceived demands - it is interesting to see just what could have been on offer.
With that in mind, GIVEMESPORT have looked at the potential XI Newcastle could have had, should their takeover have been allowed to happen in 2020.
To that end, dreams moves for the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland have not been considered at what would have been an early stage of their new era, even despite the ludicrous wealth that may well have been poured straight into the coffers at St James' Park.
Goalkeeper - Martin Dubravka
One of the elite shot-stoppers in the Premier League since joining Newcastle, initially on loan, in January 2018, there never appeared to be any real need to make a quick upgrade on Martin Dubravka.
Back 4 - Javi Manquillo, Kalidou Kouliably, Jamaal Lascelles, Jamal Lewis
Granted, starting with Javi Manquillo might not exactly have been the most thrilling prospect but, it's important to base this particular eleven on the players who were linked with a move at the time, for fear of getting too ridiculous.
As much as right-back has been a problem position for the club over the years, there weren't any huge names linked with Newcastle at the time.
Central defence was different, however. Indeed, Napoli's Kalidou Kouliably (as he so often is without pretty much any monied club) was strongly linked as a potential partner for Jamaal Lascelles, while Jamal Lewis did actually arrive.
The Northern Irish international did struggle during his first season on Tyneside but perhaps things could have been different had the club been riding the crest of a wave.
Midfield 3 - Boubakary Soumare, Arturo Vidal, Philippe Coutinho
Here's where it gets really exciting.
Before his eventual move to Leicester City earlier this summer, Lille star Soumare was the subject of a club-record bid from Newcastle in January 2020, although snubbed the idea of a move.
Linked again during the takeover talk, perhaps the influx of ambition could well have helped tempt him to St James' Park to operate in the anchor role alongside two other big names.
Arturo Vidal was touted as a target and his combativeness, as well as vast array of major trophies, could well have made him a favourite amongst the Newcastle faithful, while Philippe Coutinho was another big name mooted as a potential recruit.
Front 3 - Wilfried Zaha, Ciro Immobile, Allan Saint-Maximin
Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is never not linked with a big-money move away from Selhurst Park and, while it would certainly be considered a sideways step at the moment, the prospect of a takeover may well have made it a more tempting prospect.
Considering Allan Saint-Maximin's popularity, he seems likely to have continued on the left while Italy striker Ciro Immobile has previously spoken about how his agents were contacted by the potential new Newcastle owners.
Manager - Mauricio Pochettino
Now, it seems absolutely ridiculous to imagine Mauricio Pochettino taking charge of Newcastle United.
Still, there were strong suggestions the would-be new regime were ready to offer the Argentine a stunning £19m a year to lead their project.
Given the widespread unpopularity of manager Steve Bruce, as well as Pochettino's exploits with Tottenham, it's not hard to imagine that being the kind of move to spark huge excitement on Tyneside.
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