Alan Shearer became the most expensive signing in world football when he joined Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers in 1996. As the club’s new owners consider ways to catapult the team among Europe’s elite, such a statement is likely to be on the cards once again.
Since the takeover announcement last week, fans have been dreaming about who could soon be lining up in black and white.
From Kylian Mbappe to Erling Haaland to Mauro Icardi, some of the best goalscorers in the game are being linked. It’s too early into the new regime to know who will truly arrive - it is pretty much guesswork at this stage - but almost every source with good knowledge of the situation feels that Haaland and Mbappe, at least, are a step too far. This new era needs some time to build pace but in the coming years there seems very little we can rule out.
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The type of financial wealth attached to this £300million takeover means Newcastle can genuinely be considered the richest club in the game and it’s because of that there has been such an explosion of gossip around St James’ Park.
The consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, that also includes Amanda Staveley and billionaire property developers Simon and David Reuben, can change the landscape of English football. Determining which rumours are true and which are false is tricky yet the ambition they are prepared to show means almost nothing is off the table.
Part of the difficulty in understanding exactly which route they are going down for signings stems from the fact that information is pouring out of four different areas.
There are those who are close to The Reuben brothers, part of the new board and worth around £21.5 billion. There is information coming from people already involved at Newcastle, including staff but also agents and intermediaries that work closely with the club. There are nuggets of information being picked up from the business world around Amanda Staveley, the clubs new public figurehead, and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who is also playing a significant role in leading the club forward.
And finally there is the Saudi Arabian element - which brings an unknown element to this entire outlook as early indications suggest there is really no limit on their pursuit of glory.

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The first area of significant business to address surrounds the manager though, and Steve Bruce is expected to depart with current assistant coach Graeme Jones taking over.
Sunday’s game with Tottenham is a sell out and there is a feeling that the celebratory mood around the place could be soured if Bruce is still in the dugout.
Jones, who was born in Gateshead and has also been working with England, is seen as a perfect figure to help the shift of mentality while they search for a man with high profile and high status long term. The club will also bring in a new sporting director that aligns them with the vision of other top clubs in Europe.
The way they approach the management situation is not dissimilar to how they will revamp the squad. This season there will have to be some slow steps of progress but then, as we get towards next season, there will be a statement of intent.
Newcastle sounded out Antonio Conte but that was to double check he did not want the job right now, as they had initially been informed. They did not want to find out in six months time that he had taken another job but was publicly stating he would have been interested in joining them. Other names being spoken of include Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Lucien Favre but it would not be a surprise to see Jones stay in the role a little while first.

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Building an English 'spine'

The approach to new signings will work similarly in that this term we will see them make January additions that bring short-term hope and excitement, but act heavily as a warm-up for the big business that is to follow in the coming years.
Indications suggest there is a dream to give the side an elite English spine and as part of that the approach to signings will be as ambitious as possible.
There is no exact way to mirror a Shearer-like homecoming but there are England stars that might see this new Newcastle as the perfect platform to take their career in a new direction.
Wages on offer are going to be as high as anywhere else in Europe and the plan to compete domestically before attacking the Champions League is real.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane is someone they are believed to have an eye on as someone who could transform the expectation levels while Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is the type of player that is also going to be talked about in terms of raising the standard.
They will also look to be involved in the conversations that happen around midfielders Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, when they look to leave West Ham and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
In defence, James Tarkowski of Burnley is in line to be one of the earlier squad additions, in line with that vision of an English spine.

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Short-term fixes lined up for January window

For January the prospects in attack are slightly different as Newcastle look to enhance the quality of their side by taking advantage of players in sticky situations at other clubs.
Forward options such as Anthony Martial of Manchester United, Luka Jovic of Real Madrid and Alfredo Morelos of Rangers are some of the potential options to be checked out.
Elsewhere the options of Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones at United, as well as Ross Barkley at Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona are interesting avenues to explore.
Short-term fixes will be made in line with long-term dreams as Newcastle get this project up and running. Champions League football can not arrive overnight but the steps towards that dream will be addressed to give them the best chance of making it happen as soon as possible.
It will not be long until Newcastle are in for the biggest players in the world, breaking transfer records. That Shearer moment can come again, just don’t expect it quite yet.
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