The Newcastle United fans in the Transfer Tavern are desperately hoping that Mike Ashley will finally leave the club this summer to make way for a financially powerful investor who is capable of leading The Magpies into a new era of success.
Mike Ashley’s unpopularity at Newcastle has been well-documented in recent years, and it’s fair to say the Toon Army propping up our bar cannot wait to see him finally leave the club. Headlines regarding a potential takeover from Amanda Staveley dominated the British media in the early stages of the season, but discussions of that nature have significantly toned down since the end of the January transfer window.
The most plausible explanation for the muted speculation concerns Newcastle’s current position in the league table. No shrewd business brain would commit to paying hundreds of millions of pounds for a football club whose value largely depends on the tier they compete in, so until Newcastle’s Premier League status is confirmed, Ashley will remain in charge.
However, Newcastle’s improvement in recent weeks strongly suggests that they should have enough quality to take a decisive step over the finish line and cement their place in the top-flight next season. If they do indeed manage to achieve their ultimate ambition, then a change in ownership could signal the beginning of a fresh chapter in The Magpies history.
The overriding feature of this chapter would be a marked improvement in the success of the club, and the best way to instigate an improvement is by securing the signatures of a handful of quality players. According to Tutto Mercato, Juventus veteran Claudio Marchisio (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt) is considering a move to New York City at the end of the season after almost 13 years with the Old Lady – a move which Newcastle should hijack to make a statement of intent this summer.
Regardless of who arrives at the club to replace Ashley, the new owners need to make it abundantly clear that Newcastle harbour ambitions of qualifying for Europe, and the signing of Marchisio would be an apt way to illuminate their intentions. Newcastle are light on quality options in centre-midfield, so bringing the Italian international to the club would provide Benitez with a player who would install genuine class into the heart of his starting eleven.
Marchisio’s arrival on Tyneside would be a marquee signing with huge potential to galvanise both the supporters and the players into a new era for a club which is crying out for change, and providing the 32-year-old wants to leave the Old Lady this summer, Newcastle’s new owner should do everything they can to convince him to make a switch to St James’ Park.