Money well spent on stars and Eddie Howe - How Newcastle got back into the Champions League
Newcastle United qualified for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, when a drab 0-0 draw with Leicester City confirmed their spot in the Premier League top four for the season. Thanks to significant investment from the club’s news Saudi Arabian-backed owners and manager Eddie Howe, the Geordie club improved on last season’s mid-table performance by jumping eight places up the league table. And are now intent on establishing themselves on a regular top four club.
"This [qualifying for the Champions League] wasn't in our sights at that moment,” said Howe when he looked back on the progression the club had made since he was appointed manager in November 2021. “We had escaped relegation impressively, from the position we were in. We were hopeful of improving and staying away from danger and growing the team to a position where maybe we could compete for Europe in a couple of seasons, so we've shot ahead of schedule. With that comes big challenges for the future, but when you're in these moments and there's an opportunity of something like this, you have to take it."
Indeed, Newcastle have certainly jumped ahead of schedule and in the process leapfrogged a number of clubs with bigger budgets and more valuable squads. Despite sitting third in the league table, the St James’ Park side’s squad is only the seventh most valuable in the Premier League at this moment in time. So how did Howe & Co. manage to qualify for the Champions League so quickly?
€387m million spent and counting
While Newcastle may not have the most valuable squad in the English top-flight, there’s little doubt that the club’s new owners have spent a significant amount of money on putting together a team that could challenge for the top four. As the graphic above shows, Newcastle’s spending on new players has ballooned in the past two seasons since they were bought over by Saudi Arabian owners, with no less than €315 million being spent on new stars like Bruno Guimarães, Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak.
However, to Newcastle’s credit, the club hasn't dominated the transfer market like other clubs have done in the past when new owners arrive with a blank cheque book. The club’s net spend over the past five seasons may stand at a mighty €387m, but that places them only fifth among Europe’s top clubs. With the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and even West Ham spending much more in the transfer window.
The Eddie Howe effect
This, unquestionably, is where Howe has managed to make up the difference between Newcastle and their high-spending rivals. While the club can lay claim to a number of impressive players, few would argue that Newcastle’s current squad should have been able to walk straight into the Premier League top four. Instead, Howe has made the most of a functional, well-drilled team that have executed his tactics perfectly over the course of the season.
This can undoubtedly been seen through the manner in which Newcastle have imposed themselves on opponents this season. For example, from 23 matches in which Howe’s side have taken the lead, Newcastle have dropped points on just four occasions. Which is the third best return in the Premier League this season. Equally, in 13 instances in which the club have fallen behind in the league this season, Howe’s side have managed to still pick up 14 points. Which is the joint-fourth best return in the league this season. When we couple that with a defensive record that has been bested by only Manchester City this season, it becomes abundantly clear that Howe’s team have been performing like a top four side for much of the league campaign.Homepage
- Date of Birth/Age:
- 29.11.1977 (45)
- Current club:
- Newcastle United
- Current Position:
- In charge since:
- Nov 8, 2021
- Total Market Value:
- Premier League
- Eddie Howe
- Squad size:
- Latest Transfer:
- Harrison Ashby