With just 48 hours until the summer transfer window closes, it looks unlikely that they will now make that move
Friday will finally bring confirmation of the “biggest deal in Newcastle United‘s history”.

But transfer deadline day will also, barring a crunching change of gears from a club hierarchy not averse to a late rethink, end with no deal for the centre-back many feel is vital to maintaining the club’s slick upward trajectory in this challenging campaign. Newcastle are, according to those familiar with their thinking, likely now closed for incoming business.

Welcome to a club moving so fast that, in the words of CEO Darren Eales, they are “building the plane while flying it”. Newcastle under Saudi PIF ownership sometimes feels like a contradiction but so far, it has worked smoothly.
The next few days will be fascinating. On Wednesday night club officials were in Monaco, dining with a view of the Mediterranean Sea ahead of the Champions League draw.

Sven Botman (far right) limps off during Newcastle's defeat to Liverpool (Photos: Getty)

With Newcastle in pot four, meetings with European superpowers are almost guaranteed. The prospect of welcoming Real Madrid or Barcelona, the club’s co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi says the Magpies aspire to overturn in the coming years, is mouthwatering for supporters who did not anticipate such rapid progression.
Participation in the Champions League is likely to add, in Eales’ words, at least “£45m to the bottom line” and that figure will balloon if they can escape the group stages, with each home match day worth £1m or more to the club.

Those are transformative figures but it is what being part of the elite competition does to the club’s profile and brand that is energising those inside St James’ Park the most.


On Friday morning, there will be tangible proof of that when a new kit deal with Adidas is confirmed that brings Newcastle back into line with some of their direct rivals.
It represents the club’s biggest-ever commercial deal and is worth “nine figures and hundreds of millions of pounds” according to one person with knowledge of the terms agreed.

The deal – brokered by chief commercial officer Peter Silverstone – is the first of what i understands are a raft of sponsorships that are in the pipeline. Innovative training ground and stadium partnerships are also being worked on to add zeros to a bottom line that needs to grow at the same rate as the team.


If they don’t, Newcastle will continue to be hamstrung by Financial Fair Play considerations that have shaped much of their summer business and hang heavily over attempts to bring in the ball-playing right-sided centre-back that had been identified as a priority at the start of the summer.


With just 48 hours until the summer transfer window closes – and with Newcastle reluctant to go too big in January unless the team’s fortunes require it – it looks unlikely that they will now make that move.
Insiders say Newcastle have instead moved where opportunities have presented themselves. Securing Lewis Hall on loan with an obligation to buy was “almost too good to be true”. Taking Tino Livramento from Southampton for less than £30m when it is anticipated he may be worth three times that amount in a few years fell into a similar bracket.

The club’s delicate balancing act has always been to tend to the here and now while also looking after the future. The gamble they seem willing to take is that Fabian Schar and Sven Botman stay fit and in form until the New Year at least.


Given how quick breaking sides have troubled that partnership in the past, it is something that makes some Newcastle fans nervous.


That anxiety was hardly helped by the sight of Botman limping off during the defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, although there’s a measure of confidence that he will be available for the trip to Brighton – the latest tough game in a treacherous start to the domestic campaign for Newcastle.


Jamaal Lascelles is primed to replace him if Botman can’t recover but that comes with its own complications.
The defender was videoed as part of a late-night brawl in the city centre on the night following his team’s defeat at Manchester City on 20 August which has become the subject of a police probe.

But i has been told Newcastle bosses support Lascelles and there will be no club disciplinary action forthcoming. Indeed they are simply “relieved he is OK” following the incident. Sources close to the defender say he was acting in self-defence.


On the pitch, when the enthusiasm of Thursday’s draw subsides there are some issues of substance to wrestle with.


Newcastle created enough chances to beat Liverpool at St James’ Park but the manner of their defeat stung Eddie Howe, who headed back to his Northumberland home after the game to immediately analyse it. It demands a response at Brighton, who have begun the campaign brightly.


“If we don’t take collective responsibility and analyse the game properly then no, we can’t learn from it,” he said.


“But if you do those things and take ownership of what happened – and that includes me and the players – then I think you can come out of it stronger and I think that’s what we will endeavour to do.”

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