HomeFootball NewsHowe challenge to deliver more progress and end Newcastle’s trophy wait

Howe challenge to deliver more progress and end Newcastle’s trophy wait

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Newcastle United’s 2022-23 season was widely seen as a success and the club will do everything in their power to build on that platform in the new campaign. Newcastle are looking forward to Champions League football for the first time in 20 years.

The Toon’s progress under Eddie Howe has caught some by surprise, with few expecting the side from the North East to be so competitive domestically at this stage, even with the significant investment in the team under the ownership of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

How does the club get better next season? Silverware is a key objective, especially for the fans. The Magpies almost tasted champagne last season, but they fell short in the Carabao Cup final in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United. Next season, expectations will increase.

Whilst Newcastle will have a focus on the Champions League (and staying in it the following season), if they could win a trophy next year it would be huge cause for celebration amongst the Geordie faithful, almost regardless of where they finish in the Premier League.

The Saudi owners of Newcastle have made first-team development a priority, and have been heavily involved with the wider running of the club. Investments have been made, not only in the playing squad through signings like Kieran Trippier, Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimarães, but also in a state-of-the-art training facility. The owners clearly do care about what is happening on the ground, in the day-to-day activity of the club’s business.

The smart spending of the club has also made sure that they are within the Financial Fair Play rules up until now, which means they won’t face any immediate sanctions due to overspending.

Newcastle are heading in the right direction under Howe, as he has injected belief and happiness back into the fanbase, something that was missing under the previous owners and managers.

One main challenge that the Champions League side will face is being able to acquire top-tier quality whilst staying FFP compliant. Whilst they are not apparently close to breaching the rules, if they do start signing multiple high-standard players, question marks will be raised over the club’s spending. Reports that Howe’s summer transfer budget is around £80-£90 million is due to the FFP cap.

Sandro Tonali is believed to be on the verge of completing a deal to sign for the Magpies from AC Milan. His arrival would be a big statement signing considering the Italian was a key player in the Milan side which reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s young Australian forward Garang Kuol is also highly rated. The forward was on loan at Hearts last season where he only scored one goal in nine appearances but at 18 years old, he is one to watch. There’s a real belief around the club that the teenager will be given a chance next season to prove himself. The striker’s only goal for Hearts came against Rangers in a 2-2 draw.

Newcastle will also hope that £40 million Liverpudlian winger Anthony Gordon can kick on and perform more productively in the new campaign, having scored one goal in 16 appearances since signing in January. Gordon is still just 22 years old and much is expected of him under Howe, given his mercurial talent.

Likewise, 23 year old striker Alexander Isak is expected to deliver the goods this season if he can stay fit and get regular games. Having missed a chunk of his debut season due to a hamstring injury, former Borussia Dortmund and Real Sociedad forward Isak is an unquestionably gifted player who can build on the 10 goals he’s netted so far for Newcastle.

With Newcastle jumping straight into Champions League football next season, the club will require extra squad depth. Regularly playing three games per week will of course be a different challenge compared to last season, where for much of the campaign the Toon were often able to rest between their important Premier League matches.

With priority being given to an additional competition, it could have a knock-on effect on their league campaign, with a big pack of clubs also expected to be in the hunt for a top-four finish, including both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and dark horses such as Aston Villa and Brighton.

Although it’s a cliché to describe Newcastle as a ‘sleeping giant’ the club with four league titles and six FA Cups in their trophy cabinet have certainly been aroused from their slumber with the recent injection of cash, and with Howe’s diligence on the training field.

Could this be the season they finally win their first major honour since 1955?

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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