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Lee Clark: Newcastle takeover hope; Longstaff Man Utd ready; Liverpool trump Spurs

Everybody should know that despite the statement released to the press about the potential takeover of Newcastle United, there is a bit of scepticism up here in the north East.

The fans have been through this scenario on a number of occasions with different groups and consortiums who had reportedly agreed figures with Mike Ashley. Nothing ever came of those talks.

So I think until an actual individual or consortium are actually announced as the official new owners of Newcastle United then there will always be that little bit of doubt in the minds of supporters.

I think the current owner has always said that he was willing to sell to the right people at the right price. Hopefully this group agree the fee and hopefully finance the club in a way that Mike has come and said he could never do in terms of his own personal wealth.

There's a little bit of excitement around the city at the moment, but it's tinged with a little bit of anxiety with what's happened in previous years.


THERE'S STILL A LOT OF WORK TO DO…

Hypothetically if the new owners come in, the way I see it is if they get new investment then they can start competing with the majority of clubs in the Premier League, and I say the majority because they won't compete with the Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United's initially, in terms of finance.

But if they can compete with the other teams then it gives them a chance to bridge that gap from the 13th place they finished this season to the Europa League spots and getting into those top ten positions.

What happens is when they you go for those sort of players that can get you there, they are looking at teams who are already in the Europa League or in the Champions League. Just because you have the money it still sometimes proves difficult to attract those higher quality players.

It has always been the case, even during my time at Newcastle in the 1990s when we were very successful, that if players have the choice of London or Liverpool or Manchester, they will always have the North East at the bottom of that list and that's just the reality. I love the place, I'm born and bred here. But that's the way they see it.

So then you have to offer a couple of different things.

  1. You let them see the passion of the club and hopefully that sways them
  2. But also you have to invest a little bit more in money in their personal salaries to convince them to come to your club

That's the way it is and the reality for Newcastle. If they are going to start competing against the big guys again, then they need to do that to attract those kinds of players.

It is a huge, huge club but the competition for talent is tough and if your club has just finished 13th then you are at a disadvantage. It's very similar to the clubs who come up from the Championship. It doesn't matter how much wealth they have. It proves very difficult to attract the top players for a couple of seasons until you've established yourself as a Premier League club because they don't want to go there and think they'll get relegated.

Wolves were an exception to the norm this season. They went and signed some players on loan when they were in the Championship and then when they got to the Premier League they were signed full-time.

But that's the key for Newcastle. It's not just as easy as 'oh we'll get a new owner with absolutely millions who will start attracting people'. If you think about the top players they have plenty of choices so it's not about the economic package, it's about the professional package as well.

That'll be the biggest battle for Newcastle. What they have to their advantage is a manager in Rafa Benitez, who I expect to stay on if the new consortium comes in. He is somebody who can attract the top players because of his reputation and CV.


DON'T UNDERESTIMATE BOYHOOD DREAMS

I spoke about Sean Longstaff in my last column and it shouldn't surprise you that I'm not surprised at all that Manchester United are interested in signing him.

As I'll keep reiterating, United clearly rate Sean very highly and there is so much more to come from the boy. You've got a potential top class midfielder on your hands. He's just going to keep reaching new levels all the time up to the point of playing for England.

I don't think the move is premature at all.I believe Sean is good enough to play for a top club like that and flourish. But the pull of a local lad playing for Newcastle United is huge. You can't underestimate that.

They will also likely look to build a team around him next season and that could be a big enough pull for him.

I would say that if the club don't show the ambition where they want to go then there would be something for Sean to think about further down the line.


HOW GOOD IS THE PREMIER LEAGUE

I'm excited for Saturday's Champions League final. I watched the Europa League final between the two London clubs and it was a strong performance by Chelsea.

It's another exciting weekend for English football with two of the big clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham, going together and showcasing the Premier League to the world.

And I think it's going to be an interesting game. I've heard both managers pre-match press conferences and they say it is going to be completely different from their meetings in the Premier League this season.

I would agree with that. This is a Champions League final where both teams have a chance on the day.

However, I would lean towards tipping Liverpool sneaking it because of the consistency they've showed, the quality they have. I just think this could be their day.

Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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