When Newcastle were taken over by their new Saudi owners, everyone expected the club to start progressing in the right direction. But it’s unlikely many would have thought this would be the season when they announced themselves as a Champions League outfit. The Magpies, of course, don’t want it to be a flash in the pan, and now it will be over to Eddie Howe and co to ensure they’re in top-four contention next season.
It's likely that Premier League betting would have indicated Newcastle were in with a chance of securing a top-four place this term, but when you consider that next season, they’re going to be playing extra games in the Champions League, their odds of repeating the feet will undoubtedly widen. There are questions to answer, and knowing whether Newcastle can stay in top-four contention will come down to the work they do this summer.
Recruitment is often spoken about where The Magpies are concerned, and they’ve done well in recent times to spend money on the right players at the right time. You wouldn’t bet against them doing the same again, only this time they must do so knowing there will be at least another six games to play. And, when you’re competing in Europe, you what to do exactly that, compete. Newcastle have been linked with making several big-name and big-money signings, but they may have to look slightly beyond that now, taking other things into account.
Jean-Clair Todibo, Manuel Ugarte, and James Maddison are just three high-level players being linked with a switch to Tyneside, and their arrival would certainly make Newcastle stronger where their starting XI is concerned. But, football for The Magpies will become more of a squad game next term, and Howe will need options so he can rotate players to keep them fresh, fit and firing, bearing in mind they’re going to be playing in midweek as well as at weekends.
The former Bournemouth chief has a good group of players available to him now, and it’s allowed the club to compete on multiple fronts throughout the 2022/23 campaign. But to be able to play at the highest level in Europe, coupled with aiming to finish as one of the top four teams in the Premier League, is another kettle of fish entirely. It means the options that could once be deemed good enough probably won’t be, moving forwards, and new recruits that can be rotated in and out as and when will be required.
Like most things in football, Newcastle being able to repeat the feat of finishing in the Champions League places will primarily come down to how well the club recruit this summer. And from there, success will be determined by how well Howe and his staff manage the squad. If they find the right balance, The Magpies could be flying high for a second season running. Both at home and maybe even on their European adventure.