Rating every Newcastle signing since the Saudi takeover

Newcastle’s future was transformed following the announcement of the club’s takeover in 2021, as a Saudi-led regime turned the Magpies into world football’s richest club overnight.

Following the misery of the Mike Ashley era at St James’ Park, the takeover has turned Newcastle into a place full of optimism and ambition. The club’s spending has less extravagant than expected, but the new-found wealth has been invested into smart signings capable of taking the side up a level.

Eddie Howe’s team are in the Premier League’s top four following a brilliant start to the campaign, with the manager having done a fine job since inheriting a team in the relegation places a little over a year ago.

Optimism is high in the North East and we’ve decided to rate the recruits of the new era so far. Here are our ratings of every Newcastle signing since the Saudi takeover.

Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier was the first arrival of the new regime, as Newcastle struck a deal to bring the England international back to the Premier League.

Trippier had spent two-and-a-half seasons at Atletico Madrid and won the La Liga title with the Spanish side, but returned to English football to join Newcastle’s ambitious project.

The 32-year-old has been a huge hit since arriving at St James’ Park, providing a touch of quality from right-back. His delivery from set-pieces and open play have been a major weapon for Newcastle, while he has scored three goals in 18 appearances for the Magpies – each coming from free-kicks.

His immediate importance has been recognised with the captain’s armband on occasion and his consistent form is expected to land Trippier a place in England’s World Cup squad for Qatar.

Rating: 9/10

Chris Wood

Newcastle’s search for a new centre-forward saw the club activate Chris Wood’s release clause at Burnley in January 2022, following the news that Callum Wilson was set for a two-month spell on the sidelines.

The New Zealand international offered a Premier League proven option to help Newcastle’s fight to survive, having reached 10+ league goals in four consecutive campaigns for the Clarets.

Wood struggled to make an impact following his move to St James’ Park however, as he scored just twice in 17 league appearances across the second half of the campaign, one of which came from the penalty spot.

Wilson’s return to fitness and the summer arrival of Alexander Isak have pushed the 30-year-old down the pecking order this season and he has started just once in the Premier League in 2022/23. It would come as little surprise to see him move on in search of regular minutes, though Newcastle can expect a significant loss on their £25m investment.

Rating: 3/10

Matt Targett

Eddie Howe’s first window saw a focus largely on players with experience of the Premier League and Matt Targett arrived on loan to bolster the left-back stocks.

Targett had been deemed surplus to requirements at Aston Villa following the signing of Lucas Digne, but had a key role in Newcastle’s improvement last season. He featured in every minute of the club’s campaign following his arrival, with his form persuading the Magpies to turn his loan into a permanent move for a fee of £15m.

He has struggled to retain his role as a regular this season however, and has made just five league starts.

Rating: 6/10

Dan Burn

Dan Burn was viewed as an unfashionable arrival during the first window of the new era, but the centre-back has proven an astute addition.

The Blyth-born defender jumped at the chance to join his boyhood side and return to his native North East, where has since become a fans’ favourite at St James’ Park. Burn has been a towering presence during Newcastle’s improvement, with the Magpies boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League so far this season.

The 30-year-old has operated at centre-back and left-back for Eddie Howe’s side and his £13m arrival from Brighton has been a shrewd signing.

Rating: 8/10

Bruno Guimaraes

Bruno Guimaraes was the marquee arrival in the January transfer window, as Newcastle completed a deal to sign the highly-rated midfielder from Lyon. He was integrated slowly into the side, but has now become arguably the first name on the team sheet and is already heading towards iconic status with the Newcastle fans.

Guimaraes has hit the ground running in the Premier League and has excelled as either a midfield anchor or further forward in a box-to-box role. Full of relentless energy and quality in possession, his impact has been such that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have already been credited with interest in prising him from St James’ Park.

The 24-year-old’s extroverted passion for the project at Newcastle has only increased his popularity on Tyneside and he has formed an impressive partnership with compatriot Joelinton in the engine room. The club’s Samba stars have been the driving force being the Magpies’ momentum and there will be a number of rival sides kicking themselves for not taking a chance on Guimaraes. His £33m fee already looks like a bargain.

Rating: 10/10

Nick Pope

Nick Pope signed for Newcastle during the summer to keep alive his England ambitions, following Burnley’s relegation from the Premier League last season.

Pope had been a consistent performer for several seasons at Burnley, where his excellent shot-stopping ensured the Clarets continued to compete at the top level. Pope’s performances saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2019/20, while he was twice named as Burnley’s Player of the Season during his six campaigns at Turf Moor.

The 30-year-old – who became the first goalkeeper to keep clean sheets in his first six games for England – has been an important part of Newcastle’s defensive record this season and leads the race for the Premier League’s Golden Glove alongside Manchester City’s Ederson, with six shut-outs to date.

Rating: 8/10

Sven Botman

Having failed to sign Botman during the January transfer window, Newcastle returned with renewed intent for the Lille centre-back last summer.

The Magpies agreed a £33m deal for the Dutch defender, beating off competition from AC Milan to land their number one target. Botman was given time to settle after arriving in the Premier League, but has impressed since being handed a regular role.

His partnership with Fabian Schar has contributed to Newcastle’s defensive strength, with the Magpies having failed to concede a shot on target in their last two home Premier League games. Botman is fast emerging as a favourite and at 22 has the potential to be the long-term foundation of the Magpies’ backline.

He has kept six clean sheets in just 881 minutes of football so far this season.

Rating: 8/10

Alexander Isak

Alexander Isak became Newcastle’s record signing, as the Magpies left it late to make a statement summer signing.

The Sweden international had been linked with a move to the Premier League for some time and completed a £63m move to St James’ Park from Real Sociedad.

Isak shone with a goalscoring debut at Liverpool, while he saw a second goal ruled out for a marginal offside after some fine footwork at Anfield. He scored his second goal for the club with a penalty against Bournemouth, but has since seen a promising start halted due to a thigh injury.

Newcastle fans will want to see the 23-year-old back in action as soon as possible, with the prospect of the forward combining with Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin an exciting one for the Toon Army.

Rating: 7/10

Loris Karius

Newcastle signed Loris Karius on a free transfer to improve their goalkeeping options, following Martin Dubravka’s loan move to Manchester United and an injury to Karl Darlow.

The German had been without a club since leaving Liverpool last summer, having spent much of the past four seasons on loan spells at Besiktas and Union Berlin.

The 29-year-old has signed a short-term deal at St James’ Park and has not yet made an appearance for the club.

Rating: N/A

Garang Kuol

Garang Kuol will officially join Newcastle during the upcoming January transfer window after the Magpies beat off competition from a host of top clubs to sign the Australian prospect.

Kuol has had a meteoric rise in recent months, from A-League youth football to a transfer to the Premier League. He only signed his first professional contract at Central Coast Mariners in June, but shot to prominence after scoring four goals in his first seven A-League appearances.

In September, the 18-year-old made his senior debut for Australia and became the Socceroos’ youngest debutant since Harry Kewell in 1996.

Eddie Howe has said that Kuol is one for the future, but believes the forward has all the ingredients to become a success in English football.

Rating: N/A

Read – Seven outrageously good Premier League free-kicks

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