Newcastle United are in the midst of a takeover attempt.
UAE billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan has claimed, via the BBC, that he has provided proof of funds as he attempts to buy the club.
The entire deal is said to be worth around £350m and would finally bring down the curtain on Mike Ashley’s reign at St James’ Park.
There have been numerous takeovers in English football but perhaps the most notable came in 2008, when Sheikh Mansour bought out Manchester City.
The club has been transformed since, building a legacy and appointing Pep Guardiola; City, since the takeover, have won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four EFL Cups.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned from City’s takeover, though, with the club not achieving instant success under their new ownership.
Football FanCast runs through the top tips Newcastle can take from the last headline-grabbing takeover in English football.
Don’t buy Robinho
This one is obvious but Newcastle need to resist the urge to spend an absolute fortune in their first summer under new ownership.
Robinho was signed for a fee of £32.5m on summer deadline day in 2008. Bids were also lodged for Dimitar Berbatov, who ended up at Manchester United, David Villa, then at Valencia, and Mario Gomez, then at Stuttgart.
The deal for the Brazilian didn’t work; he was a headline-grabbing capture but he struggled to adjust to life in England and he was sold to AC Milan just two years after arriving.
A far shrewder signing came in David Silva, with City spending £25m to lure the playmaker away from Valencia.
That came after far more efficient scouting and a more measured approach, instead of a reactionary splurge.
Newcastle can learn a lesson there. They ought to invest in scouting and find the very best players they can within their budget instead of merely making massive bids with no thought for the consequences.
Invest in the backroom team
City have the best off-field team in world football.
They have secured the likes of Txiki Begiristain, Ferran Soriano and, of course, Pep Guardiola. Mikel Arteta, too, is growing to be a truly excellent coach and has been touted as a potential long-term successor to Guardiola in the Etihad dugout.
Bringing in the best of the best led to the appointment of Guardiola and the subsequent domination of the Premier League; it is, of course, a long-term plan that has only paid off across the past few years, but it speaks to there being a strategic view to the club’s takeover.
Newcastle would be wise to copy it; of course, they may not be able to bring in the cream of the crop from around the world but the days of Dennis Wise and Lee Charnley pulling the strings should be consigned to the annals of history once the takeover is completed.
Go out and bring in the most qualified men for the job to assist manager Rafael Benitez and ensure that a five-year plan is established as quickly as possible.
Reinvest in the community
City have transformed the area surrounding the Etihad Stadium.
Sheikh Mansour agreed a £1billion deal with the local council in 2010 to regenerate the local area, including a commitment to building 6,000 homes.
This is how a new owner builds a connection with the city they have invested in.
Because, after all, to invest in a football club is to invest in a city.
Injecting money into the surrounding area will go a long way to repairing the damage wreaked by Ashley on the relationship between fans and the club.
It is a no-brainer and should perhaps be the first port of call.
Hand Benitez a new contract
This isn’t something that can be learned, it’s blatantly obvious.
Newcastle need to keep the best manager they’ve had in a decade and giving Benitez the contract that he needs, and the backing that he wants, must be a major priority.
City, after all, went through three permanent managers – Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini – before hitting upon the pot of gold by appointing Guardiola.
Newcastle are already sitting on the pot at the end of the rainbow; giving Benitez a new contract should be one of their top priorities.