Incremental gains are the order of the day at Newcastle United after new ownership took root on Tyneside last season after majority shareholder PIF and corporation face Yasir Al-Rumayyan ousted long-time hated owner Mike Ashley while the Magpies became the latest billionaire-backed football club in Europe.
But with seemingly endless financial capital behind them, the gains expected to be seen at St. James’ Park will have to come thick and fast for club boss Eddie Howe.
The former Bournemouth manager has already earned credit in the bank last season after the Magpies went on a run of form that not only saw themselves rescued from potential relegation but climbed up to eleventh in the Premier League while finishing just two points adrift of a top-half finish.
Much of that run of success came off the back of immediate PIF investment during the January window that saw Newcastle bring in heavy reinforcements through Bruno Guimarães, Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Dan Burn, and Matt Targett.
With the club aiming for an even better finish in 2022-23, Newcastle could be set to get one over on a potential future league rival in Chelsea this summer by tabling a £50m bid for Leicester City star James Maddison after an initial £40m approach was laughed out of Brendan Rodgers’ office.
According to reports from CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs, Newcastle is now met with a two-pronged issue when it comes to their desire to bring the creative midfielder to the northeast of England.
First, the Foxes are said to be holding out for £60m as the KP Stadium side is said to have to sell this summer before they can reinvest, with the club also expecting Arsenal to return for Belgian international Youri Tielemans under the same premise.
But while Newcastle unquestionably has the financial resources at their disposal this summer after only securing deals for Sven Botman, Matt Target (on a full deal), and Nick Pope for just a combined £55m, what they may not have is time on their side.
Though Leicester are more-or-less consigned to losing Tielemans this window, the club is adamant in their refusal to part ways with both Maddison and key center-back Wesley Fofana.
After missing out on French international Jules Koundé, new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is looking to continue the recruitment drive at Stamford Bridge to replace both Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, with the Blues now turning towards Fofana as their next primary defensive target.
As such, the clock is ticking if the club is intent on adding firepower in their attacking ranks given the club’s targeting of defensive reinforcements thus far.
Newcastle scored just 44 goals last season, good enough for twelfth in the Premier League; a number that must increase considerably if they have any ambitions of being a potential dark horse side to fight for a top seven place as soon as possible.
Maddison, despite the fee, would certainly add not just goals but creativity into the senior squad under Howe after the 25-year-old had his best season in the Premier League to date to the tune of 12 goals and 8 assists across 35 league appearances in 2021-22 while adding a further combined 6 goals and 4 assists in cup competitions.
If Newcastle wants to be taken seriously in its quest to challenge the elite in English football, a move for Maddison would go a long way in helping the club achieve its goal as quickly as possible.