Newcastle director of football Dan Ashworth has insisted that while the club want to compete at the top of the Premier League table and for major honours, he doesn’t want to splash out on huge transfer fees to get there.
The Magpies’ takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund last year made them one of world’s wealthiest clubs overnight, though Financial Fair Play restrictions have so far limited the free-spending that fans will have hoped for.
Nevertheless, Newcastle have seen a major turnaround in results since Eddie Howe became boss towards the beginning of PIF’s reign, and Ashworth – highly rated for his roles at the FA and Brighton before heading to Tyneside – outlined the club’s vision in an interview with The Telegraph.
“There isn’t a timeframe for us, but, ‘aspirationally’, the club wants to be competing for trophies and at the top end of the Premier League,” Ashworth said.
“There’s a lot of good clubs out there, though. You have the top six who have established revenue streams, established European money, established 25-man squads…that have been investing in their club for a number of years at different levels than we have.
“We have no God-given right within one or two transfer windows to go ‘Bang, we should be competing with the top four’. One of the restraints we have is working within FFP. We can’t go and buy any player we want and pay them whatever we want, we have to be creative. I don’t think there is a ceiling…but the size and potential of this club is huge.”
Ashworth added that while it may soon be more feasible to go out and spend large sums on players, he is hoping that Newcastle can still act smarter in the market.
“I’m hoping we don’t have to spend world record fees,” he said. “Because I’m hoping we can be agile enough in the transfer and recruitment market that we don’t go and spend £100m on a ready made player.
“When can we go out and get the really top players? I don’t know, but the Premier League is the most attractive league in the world.
“That gives you a fantastic start and if you are playing in Europe and you have the size and aspiration of the club is right, of course it’s possible [to get to the top level]. That’s where we would like to be, linked with all the top talent and to bring them here so they can showcase their skills. Let’s face it, Newcastle have had players like that in the past.”