EPL

Issues facing Newcastle as they look to balance on-field ambition with PSR rules

By Sports Desk April 15, 2024

Newcastle could face a challenging summer as they attempt to managing the competing demands of their ambition and financial rules which prevent them from fully exercising their spending power.

In-form striker Alexander Isak and influential midfielder Bruno Guimaraes are coveted by rivals at home and abroad and the Magpies, who are determined to hang on to their biggest names, will have to negotiate a balancing act as they go about the latest phase of their recruitment drive.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the issues they may have to contend with.

Aren’t Newcastle’s owners fabulously wealthy?

The Magpies’ Saudi-backed owners may have eye-watering amounts of money at their disposal, but the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules – of which Everton and Nottingham Forest have fallen foul – limit the extent to which they can use it. Clubs are not allowed to lose in excess of £105million over rolling three-year periods, meaning Newcastle cannot simply flex their financial muscle.

Why might they have to sell this summer?

Head coach Eddie Howe has been allowed to invest around £400million in his squad since taking up the reins in November 2021, but sacrifices have already had to be made – most notably Allan Saint-Maximin’s £25million departure for Al-Ahli last summer – in order to balance the books. Chief executive Darren Eales has admitted player trading is inevitable at some point, and Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson were linked with January moves to Bayern Munich and AC Milan respectively as potential suitors dipped a toe in the water.

Who are their biggest assets?

Isak, who has already been touted as a target for north London duo Arsenal and Tottenham, is the man of the moment having taken his tally for the season to 21 goals with a double against Spurs on Saturday.  The Sweden international, who became Newcastle’s record signing when he joined them from Real Sociedad for £63million in August 2022, has pace, skill and an eye for goal, all of which has endeared him to the Toon Army.

Midfield general Guimaraes, who has been linked repeatedly with Paris St Germain, enjoys similarly elevated status on Tyneside, where the continued presence of his great friend and Brazil team-mate Joelinton, who signed a new long-term contract last week, could prove a telling factor.

What has Howe said?

The Newcastle boss has been unequivocal on the need to retain his best players if the club is to realise its dreams. Asked in particular about Isak’s retention in the aftermath of the Spurs game, he said: “We are trying to build a team, we are trying to grow everything, really, upwards and to do that as quickly as possible and as efficiently as you can, you need to keep your best players, otherwise you enter a different period where you go into transition and you have to start again.”

What are the alternatives?

Behind the scenes, the club is working hard to boost commercial revenue with lucrative new kit and shirt sponsorship deals already signed and the benefits of their return to the Champions League stage to be factored in. However in the short term, they may still need to be creative and Paraguay international Miguel Almiron also attracted interest in January.

Alternatively, selling a home-grown player, reluctant as Howe would be to do so, would yield pure profit in PSR terms, while moving on fringe members of the squad might reduce the wage bill, but otherwise have little financial impact.

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