If media reports regarding the takeover of Newcastle United are anywhere near accurate, then the bountiful mid-1990s period enjoyed by the club’s long-suffering fanbase may well be set to return. In recent days, these potential signings have recently seen their approximate odds of joining Newcastle before February 2021 shorten.
Gareth Bale (6/1)
With everything from Mauricio Pochettino taking over as manager, to the possibility of Gareth Bale donning the famous stripes, the current talk – however idle and unfounded – represents a degree of apparent ambition to make former owner Sir John Hall proud.
Bale’s exploits are well-known and hardly need elaboration. Turning 31 this year, Bale would naturally represent an excellent addition, with his attacking skills from wide and set-piece ability reminiscent of Peter Beardsley. Older Newcastle fans will remember the aged figure Beardsley was upon re-joining Newcastle in 1993, but Kevin Keegan’s surprising decision to buy him nearly paid off in the ultimate manner.
Newcastle would be foolish not to pursue him in anger, but the potential pull factor of a Tottenham return is something that nobody assessing the chances of this transfer can gauge. Certainly, his ability to work in an attacking trident with Real Madrid would prove priceless, and improve Newcastle’s fluidity, especially when the default 4-5-1 drifts to a 4-3-3 during Newcastle’s more desperate moments.
This classic goal from Bale serves as a textbook example of his skills.
Arturo Vidal (5/1)
While these may well be exciting times for Newcastle, nobody is under any illusion as to the challenge that lies ahead for any new owner. Indeed, current Premier League betting markets addressing relegation show that Newcastle (entering May 2020 a precarious 13th in the table) are still amongst the outside picks to drop into the Championship, and a relegation in 2016 remains painfully fresh in the memory.
Such memories provide the reasoning behind Newcastle’s focus on defensive resilience in midfield over creativity, with a designated trio of warriors typically holding the fort, and leaving the wide men to roam and feed a lone striker up front. A man with Barcelona veteran Vidal’s vision, and near-unrivalled experience of action at the pinnacle of European football, could add an extra dimension nonetheless.
Newcastle’s ability to play through the middle would unquestionably improve if Vidal signs for the Magpies. That said, many a star from Spain’s top flight has been found wanting in the Premier League, and as with Bale, age is now against Vidal.
Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is another midfielder strongly linked to Newcastle. Above, he scores a sensational goal vs Manchester United.
Alfredo Morelos (11/2)
A puzzle inside a conundrum, Morelos is arguably the best player to grace the blue of Rangers in the club’s latest top-flight stay, and has worked well alongside wise old heads like Jermain Defoe. With Morelos missing training in early March and being disciplined internally, ‘wise’ is exactly the sort of influence he needs.
The Colombian would certainly get that at Newcastle with Steve Bruce at the helm, and he would provide ample competition for the likes of Dwight Gayle and Miguel Almiron. Along with Morelos’ apparently cavalier attitude to the rigours of football away from the pitch, the gulf between the SPL and the Premier League is the only other potential drawback to an otherwise shrewd – if still very hypothetical – move amidst rumoured competition from Leicester.