Saudi spending won’t compromise owners’ aims for Newcastle, says Mapgies CEO

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Newcastle United’s chief executive, Darren Eales, is confident that the significant investment from Saudi Arabia in domestic football will not hinder their progress on Tyneside. The country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns 80% of the club, purchased majority stakes in four of Saudi Arabia’s biggest clubs in June. This has led to a wave of high-profile transfers to the Saudi Pro League, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Newcastle themselves have benefited from this investment, with Allan Saint-Maximin’s move to Al-Ahli providing a much-needed cash injection.

Eales acknowledges the difference between the extravagant spending in Saudi Arabia and Newcastle’s more measured approach. He explains that the team operates within the limits set by Financial Fair Play regulations, and their goal is to grow the club while adhering to these regulations. Despite the substantial amount spent by Newcastle’s new owners, the investment from PIF has actually been relatively modest when considering the wealth of the sovereign wealth fund.

Eales believes that PIF’s understanding of the long-term plan for Newcastle United sets them apart from other owners. The club has made significant progress since the consortium led by Amanda Staveley took over in 2021, moving from the threat of relegation to an 11th place finish and then securing a top-four spot. This season, they are aiming to build on that success and compete in the Champions League after a 20-year absence.

Although the signings of Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes, and Tino Livramento have bolstered the squad, the departure of Saint-Maximin has raised questions about the club’s relationship with the PIF. However, sporting director Dan Ashworth insists that the undisclosed fee for the Frenchman represents his market value, with similar players in similar leagues moving for similar amounts.

Alongside on-field success, Newcastle United is investing in its infrastructure. The training ground has received a £10 million upgrade, and a feasibility study is underway to explore the possibility of expanding the stadium’s capacity. The club is also focused on increasing commercial revenue and engaging with supporters worldwide.

Despite the challenges and the need to make decisions on the move, Eales expresses confidence in the direction of the club. He acknowledges that mistakes may be made along the way but believes that the ultimate goal is to restore Newcastle United to its rightful place among the top clubs in English football.

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