It’s been a long time coming for Newcastle fans but they’re finally set to experience Champions League football at St James’ Park once again this evening and the club’s owners will get a glimpse of the glamour they’re aspiring to experience in years to come. Champions League football is the pinnacle in Europe with Newcastle the latest club looking to shake up the order.
Following their £300million takeover, Newcastle’s new owners wasted little time in making big claims on where they plan to take the club. Amanda Staveley promised the Magpies would be challenging at the top of the Premier League within five years.
They’ve put their money where their mouth is with huge investment in the playing squad and big-name signings such as Sandro Tonali, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak. Their efforts last year in Eddie Howe’s first full season in charge saw Newcastle secure a surprise top-four finish and they’ve been handed a challenging Champions League group.
Playing in Europe’s elite competition against the very best is the ultimate goal for Newcastle’s ownership group. And there won’t be many tougher tests than this evening when they come up against French superstar Kylian Mbappe, who cost PSG around £166million when he joined from Monaco in 2017.
Mbappe’s future in the French capital is being questioned as he enters the final year of his contract. He was being linked with a move away from PSG during the summer transfer window and Newcastle were even being touted as a possible destination.
The riches now available to Newcastle have firmly put them in the frame to challenge in the transfer market for that calibre of player. Their coup in signing Tonali this summer ahead of clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal who were all looking for world class midfielders proves the pulling power Newcastle possess.
But signing a superstar talent like Mbappe will be the ultimate dream for Newcastle’s Saudi-led owners. The same group made an attempt to lure Mbappe to Saudi Arabia club Al Hilal with a mega offer worth around £1billion.
However, the 24-year-old appears motivated to remain in Europe where Newcastle could be in the mix for his signature next year. Real Madrid may very well end up winning the race to sign Mbappe as they’re considered strong favourites.
But tonight’s Champions League match under the lights at St James’ Park will act as the first real sign of Newcastle’s next step. Luring more world class players to Newcastle will only be a matter of time if Howe is able to continue the club’s impressive trajectory.
And signing a player like Mbappe may not seem so farfetched.