Newcastle: but what will the PIF do?


By: Manu Tournoux

There are stories that cannot be made up. Chris Wood, one of the first recruits of Newcastle PIF version, bought for €30 million from Burnley in the winter of 2022, was to help the club from the north of England to stay in the Premier League, to avoid the embarrassment of a relegation a few months after its takeover. But Chris Wood was not an attractive headliner and had scored too little, so he was sent to Nottingham Forest a year after his arrival. And it was he who humiliated Newcastle on Tuesday, by scoring a hat-trick which plunged the Magpies into a real crisis of results, the first of the Eddie Howe era.

He who brilliantly saved Newcastle from relegation to 4th place in the Premier League, with an unexpected qualification for the Champions League. Everything fell into place in a wonderful way, the transfer window was considered successful without excessive spending, without a big star but with players of the future (Isak, Botman, Tonali to name a few). Even the failed start to the season last August did not move the lines, Eddie Howe never appearing threatened. But this time it’s different. Newcastle is going through a real crisis, and the first criticisms of Howe’s choices appear in England.

What future for Eddie Howe?

With only one victory in the last seven matches, the club is stalling in the Premier League standings, where the hope of further qualification for the Champions League already appears vain. Because the competition is tougher this season, with Tottenham and Aston Villa making up for the failures of Manchester United and Chelsea. Because last summer’s recruitment took a hit in the wing with the 10-month suspension of Sandro Tonali. Because the accumulation of injuries prevents the establishment of a turnover for Eddie Howe. The latter is therefore considered a victim rather than guilty by the English managers of the club. As reported by the Daily Telegraph, the English interlocutors are all in favor of maintaining Eddie Howe, considered the long-term coach of the project led by the PIF. Problem, there is no sound coming from owner Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

And it is he who has the last word on all subjects. Therefore, the question arises: what will the PIF do in the face of this situation? In other clubs, wealthy owners have not bothered to fire a coach after a poor series of results. From the start, the PIF has been congratulated for its different management of Newcastle, for the relevance of its decisions. But he has not yet had to face such a negative series. Should we expect an upheaval? Perhaps more in the transfer window than on the sidelines. Faced with the massacre which affected the workforce, reinforcement is expected. But the rules are strict in the Premier League, and the 10-point penalty imposed on Everton has cooled the enthusiasm of the Magpies, who could settle for loans in January. With or without Eddie Howe on the bench? It takes a lot of guesswork to guess it.

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