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A high-five for Amanda? Toon transfer targets to help open a new chapter in Newcastle United history



Jesse Lingard and Sterling
Author: Sam Smith


It’s over! As takeover fever hits Newcastle, the most important detail of the deal remains the removal of Mike Ashley.


After 14 years of detachment from the fans, football which gave a resurgence to the word “turgid” in too many match reports, and a blanket of indifference that stifled the hope and ambition of thousands of Geordies, a new door has opened. Come on in passion, excitement and possibility.


NUFC Takeover - Newcastle upon Tyne

Scenes outside of St James Park (courtesy North East Updates – Facebook page)


But before we dash off into some January transfer window fantasy land, let’s just take stock for a moment.


The Saudi takeover is clearly not simply a black and white matter – there are many shades of grey to be dealt with in the coming months and years. However, what remains impossible to ignore right now is that Newcastle United sit second bottom of the table, winless, and in desperate need of some new blood on the pitch. Without doubt, new foundations need putting down behind the scenes, but the burning question for today is which players should we invest in as part of the first wave of reinforcements?


Before listing a galaxy of international superstars, perhaps we should learn from Man City’s £32million Robinho regret. He lasted less than 50 games. Bad business by any measure. However, since their early audacious transfer policy, City have won several major trophies including the Premier League on five occasions. To emulate this success the Magpies will need to find their own versions of stalwarts like Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta as cornerstones of their future development if the club is to rise to the top of the Premier League “within the next ten years”.


It’s unlikely to be an instant fix, but if done correctly the sleeping giant of Newcastle United may rise to put the North East on the footballing map once again as the club becomes relevant across the globe. Let’s hope Newcastle adopt a pragmatic approach and combine proven premiership tenacity with a sprinkling of flair – a thoughtful mix of youthful exuberance and hard-nosed experience. One thing remains certain, Saint-Maximin needs support.


So, who are the realistic Premier League targets right now?


Credit: Jesse Lingard – Instagram


Having turned down the Toon last January to move to London based West Ham United, Jesse Lingard may think twice before rejecting Newcastle for a second time. The club he turned down previously lacked ambition, direction and investment, however under the stewardship of Amanda Stavely there is a new mood around the place and the discontent between the fans and the previous owner has been put to a much-needed end.


For years the team has lacked attacking creativity – someone to run deep from midfield, put the ball in the net or be given the freedom to provide opportunities for teammates. Alongside a fit Callum Wilson, an in-form Allan Saint-Maximin and hard-working Miguel Almiron, Lingard could make a huge difference to the club’s fortunes and help it climb up from the foot of the table. Yes, our marquee signing of last summer Joe Willock plays a similar role to the Manchester United man, however this transfer would give Newcastle that cutting edge and strength in depth that has been non-existent under Ashley. Lingard has already put in a few dazzling performances for the Red Devils this year, including a well-worked goal against the Mags back in September and a curling effort from the corner of the box against the Hammers. The boy has goals in him.


Aston Villa engine room warrior John McGinn is a prime example of the tenacity required for a team to be successful in the Premier League. Having starred for Villa last season alongside Jack Grealish, McGinn’s performances were hugely positive and helped to drive the team to a respectable 11th place finish – a position Newcastle fans would be ecstatic with come the end of this campaign. Now McGinn has developed a more attack minded side to his game and seems fitter than previous years, adding an extra yard of pace. Could he combine his defensive mastery with his increasingly attacking style to help form a solid base for Newcastle to work from? One thing is for sure, he’d certainly add balance to the side and would be adored by the fans as a result of his passion for tackling and breaking up play. Alongside Isaac Hayden he would give freedom to the likes of Willock and Almiron to break the lines and enable the team to have sustained attacks on the opposition defence. Get stuck in John!


Enough about putting the ball in the opposition net, how about stopping the ball going in ours? Stand up Connor Coady and become a Toon fan favourite. The no-nonsense, brave and canny operator helped Wolves to consecutive top eight finishes in their first two seasons back in the Premier League and has played in all four divisions of English football. Freshly capped for the National side, Coady leads from the back and could become the rock in the centre of Newcastle’s defence – with Nuno leaving Wanderers at the start of the season a fresh start may be exactly what the 28-year-old is after.


Credit: Ivan Toney – Instagram


Ivan Toney perfectly sums up the Ashley era: he was ours, but we let him go! Since his time at St James’ Toney has emerged as a force of nature up front. His powerful build and dynamic style have enabled Brentford to get off to a fantastic start – 31 goals in 45 Championship games last season suggests he has the qualities to be an exciting Premier League prospect. The signing of Callum Wilson at the beginning of the 2020/21 season gave Toon fans something to cheer about and he has shown glimpses of his talent in between his injuries – the fans recognise a skilful striker but unfortunately, he’s not on pitch enough to show it week in, week out. If he was to stay fit, Wilson would be at a top six club scoring goals for fun. The possibility of having two proven Premier League talents leading the line seemed like a dream under Ashley but now it could be reality. The combination of pace and power from Toney and the mix of Wilson’s experience and his poacher’s instincts would certainly get the fans off their seats.



Credit: James Tarkowski – Instagram


Perhaps a slightly more underwhelming addition could be Burnley defender James Tarkowski who has plenty of Premier League experience and is out of contract at the end of the season. It is important to remember the position Newcastle currently find themselves in. Although it’s exciting to discuss the possibility of signing European megastars, players like Tarkowski may enable the Toon to thrive under new ownership and help them to climb back up the table. The English centre-half has plenty of Premier League knowhow and has played over 150 games for the Clarets since 2016, with two international caps under his belt. If Newcastle act quickly in the January window the powerful defender may be available for around £3million which represents a great deal and would strengthen the Magpie defence which has been lacking stability for years. Tarkowski would be a threat in the opposition box at set pieces and would certainly be an upgrade on our current defensive options. Put him in row Z James!


Other European options include the likes of 30-year-old commanding centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, Portuguese midfield starlet Renato Sanches from Ligue 1 side Lille, ex-Premier League superstars Eden Hazard and Phillipe Coutinho, Englishmen Declan Rice and Buykayo Saka or Argentinian talent Lautaro Martinez from Italian champions Inter Milan amongst many others, but they might be a window too early for the new owners just now.


Of course, the Saudi takeover has attracted a myriad of transfer rumours given the extent of its riches, however Newcastle must be realistic in their pursuit of new players. What remains clear is that the signing of reliable, experienced and hard-working players is top priority.


So, while I started by saying it was ‘over’, now Ashley has departed we have a new beginning. Already there is a whole new feel around the club as an atmosphere of optimism, excitement and enthusiasm once again fills the City. It’s an intoxicating mixture, ready to ignite. Howay the Toon!


Who would you like to see brought to Newcastle in January? Please let us know on our social media below…


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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living



A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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STACK Newcastle Bosses Scrap Plans For Christmas Pop-Up Venue



The owners of STACK have confirmed that there won’t be a pop-up version in Newcastle this Christmas, as plans have been shelved.

At the end of September it was reported that STACK’s owner, Danieli Group, were hoping to bring the brand back to the heart of Newcastle after its Pilgrim Street site was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors since 2018. The pop-up, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Stephenson Quarter, looked set to be a massive draw before STACK makes its permanent return to the city next year, was planned to feature a number of shipping container bars, a new take on its famous Hadrian’s Tipi, street food vans, a stage and large screen, all on one level.

But, it has now been announced that the proposed STACK festive pop-up won’t be happening anymore. Confirming the decision, Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Group said that while it was sad news that the pop-up would no longer take place, it meant the company can forge ahead with the Worswick Chambers plan.

He commented: “We know how much people miss not having a STACK in Newcastle so we are concentrating our efforts on creating what will become a flagship site back where STACK first began,” he said.

“Work is well underway on the scheme with a view to being open in winter 2023.”

In recent weeks it has announced new developments in Lincoln, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle.

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