Times will be different at Newcastle United following their takeover by the Saudi Arabian-led Public Investment Fund from long-time club owner Mike Ashley.
One key factor that will make Newcastle’s survival under Eddie Howe a certainty
The former Bournemouth manager has the tough job of keeping the now super-rich Magpies up, and he has two players who can make it happen.
Considering their Arab owners have a lot of wealth mainly tied to oil, there is a lot of euphoria about the Magpies in the not-too-distant future challenging for major honors with the big guns in the Premier League, making the battle for the top four and other European places more intense.
That is still a bit of a distant dream though for a side who are currently bottom of the table. They are the only side yet to win in the top-flight this season, but there is hope as they are not so far off from safety. Hence, they get to move up real quickly if results start swinging in their favor.
With new owners in, erstwhile manager Steve Bruce was under intense scrutiny even though he has a track record of keeping struggling sides away from the relegation zone by the end of the season.
Out Bruce went, and in came Eddie Howe. The 43-year-old is widely remembered for his time at Bournemouth where he steadily led them up the English football pyramid until Premier League promotion was achieved in 2015, keeping them there for five years.
Under Bruce, Newcastle were known to be a conservative and highly pragmatic side, leaving them to scamper for results from time to time. Under Howe, the Tyneside outfit are expected to be more attack-minded, which will be very beneficial to getting better results.
One benefit for the club will come from the presence of two players in the persons of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser.
The duo were previously at Bournemouth and managed by Howe. During their time together at the Vitality Stadium, they struck a good chord, particularly during the 2018-19 season where they combined for 12 goals, making them the most dynamic partnership for that season. They were at that time just one goal short of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton's tally from the title-winning 1994-95 season with Blackburn Rovers. It has since been overtaken by Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son’s combination for 14 goals last term.
Wilson scored 14 league goals in 2018-19, the sixth-highest tally for that campaign, along with nine assists. Fraser meanwhile netted seven goals, coupled with 14 assists, one shy of then-Chelsea player Eden Hazard.
Bournemouth ultimately finished with 45 points, 21 points and four places clear of the relegation zone. It was their second best points haul after 46 points and a ninth-place finish during the earlier season (2016-17).
Wilson and Fraser left the south coast after Bournemouth finished 18th at the end of the 2019-20 season and moved to St James' Park.
On Tyneside, Wilson has been more valuable with 16 competitive goals and counting. Fraser has just one goal, none in the Premier League. He was limited to just 18 top-flight appearances last term due to injury, but is in better shape now.
With Howe in charge now, Wilson and Fraser will be able to strike up that partnership again, something he has admitted he will love to rekindle.
"We'll try and create that here. But it is about work and repetition on the training ground," Howe said.
Not only will that happen, but other attacking options such as Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton, will also come alive with the manager's attacking philosophy.
Newcastle might still be at the bottom of the log, but with Howe now recovered after contracting COVID-19, he will be able to get down to business and get the required job done.
Even though, as stated earlier, Newcastle have bigger plans with the new takeover, there is every ounce of confidence the Magpies will be out of relegation waters soon.
Wilson and Fraser might not be part of the bigger plans as well, once players with better reputation are purchased, but the duo will have done their bit in recreating the same dynamic partnership from Bournemouth that thrilled audiences.
Kunle is an avid writer with interest in topics on sports, politics and health. His articles have featured in Goal.com, Opera News and Vanguard News. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Relations and is an advocate for people living with Hydrocephalus and other neurological conditions.
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