Thankfully, the international break is nearly done and Chelsea can get back to action. Breaks are awful for a multitude of reasons like boring, nonsensical football that shouldn’t be played during a global pandemic that still hasn’t ended. There is also the fear that your club’s players will get injured playing against a country most can’t find on a map in a game that barely matters. Not to mention cramming three games into breaks now to “make up for Covid” which really means “to make more money and desensitize you to having three games a break because this is now the norm. And, finally, transfer rumors that barely make sense because all the aforementioned stuff isn’t exciting enough on its own to fill a back page.
Journalists and red bad rags the world over will have rejoiced at Newcastle’s acquisition by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. Not only can they write about how terrible it is for the game, but they can also make up the most insane transfer rumors because suddenly Newcastle is the wild west and anything goes.
Got a player on the fringe of your squad? Newcastle wants them! How about a player that isn’t on the fringe, but hasn’t really settled either? Newcastle has got a contract ready! Anything and everything goes when Newcastle is suddenly cash flush and clubs like Chelsea have enough on the fringes to be picked off.
It’s not worth mentioning any specific rumors at the moment because as soon as games start up, they’ll all disappear as if they never existed at all. But, a quick glance around shows that players like Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger and who knows who else have been named. Seriously, at this point it’s more about throwing names against the wall that make just enough sense to stick.
Mind, almost none of this is going to matter until at least next summer. Newcastle could spend big in January, but that’s a tricky time to spend and a lot of precursors will need to come into play first. They’ll need a new manager if they are cutting ties with Steve Bruce, but more than anything they need to look like they’ll survive this season. Nothing will tank the Newcastle project faster than a relegation after spending big in January trying to get out of a hole that’s too deep.
Then, when the summer does come, it will really depend on how Newcastle opts to rebuild. Will they spend big on big names like Chelsea or Manchester City did years ago? Or will it be a slow build, buying players better than they have but ones that aren’t quite superstars yet like Leicester City or Everton did? Will they link up with an agent like Wolverhampton? And then, perhaps more than anything, will teams sell at a fair price (knowing Newcastle has more to give) and will players be willing to go to Newcastle over other options?
There is simply too much in the air to know what Newcastle will look like in nearly a year. But, in the short term, they are a convenient boogey man for Chelsea, Manchester City, and the world. And hopefully, when the break ends, we can all get back to reality instead of the monster under the bed.
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