Newcastle United were close to having new owners recently, and fans were delighted that chairman Mike Ashley’s 13-year reign was coming to an end.
However, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund withdrew their £300 million takeover bid after getting frustrated with the English Premier League’s rigorous Owners’ and Directors’ Test, and the businessman remains in charge until further notice.
Having added five players to the first-team so far, Newcastle haven’t done badly in the summer transfer window as many had feared, and they could still make one or two signings before the window shuts.
Ashley has been supportive despite the failed takeover, and head coach Steve Bruce couldn’t have asked for more.
However, former Magpies manager Rafa Benitez believes more investments are needed across every area, insisting it’s about the quality of signings and not the quantity.
“My message was and still is that they have to invest in the academy, the training ground and the first-team to guarantee a competitive team,” the Dalian Professional boss told Sportsmail.
“Not to compete against Liverpool or Manchester City, but, like other historic clubs in the Premier League, the relegation battle cannot be the target every year.
“The city and the fans have been suffering for years and deserve better. Last season, after three years in the Premier League and with eight signings, still they couldn’t reach the Top 10.”
Newcastle won their opening match of a new Premier League campaign for the first time since 2012 after handing West Ham United a 2-0 defeat at the London Stadium on Saturday, and Bruce will hope to go one better this term following last season’s 13th-placed finish.
It remains to be seen for how much longer the wantaway Ashley will remain in charge, but it’s hard to see him investing in the academy and training ground going forward, and his decision to invest in the first-team this summer is mainly for the club to hold on to their top-flight status and remain sellable.