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Newcastle not immune from having to sell top talent after £73m loss: chief exec

Newcastle’s backing from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund does not mean they will not have to sell some of their top players, the club’s chief executive admitted after posting a £73 million ($93 million) loss for the 2022/2023 season.

The Magpies have improved on the pitch since a takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund in October 2021 when they sat 19th in the Premier League table.

Newcastle finished fourth last season to return to the Champions League for the first time in 20 years and reached the League Cup final.

However, they were not as active as expected in the summer transfer window and have paid a price this season as an injury crisis has left Eddie Howe’s squad on its knees.

A run of seven defeats in nine games saw Howe’s men crash out of Europe and drop to ninth in the Premier League table.

But Newcastle’s ability to spend in the transfer market has been hampered by financial fair play (FFP) constraints.

The financial figures for last season showed a £70 million rise in turnover to £250 million.

However, chief executive Darren Eales said that still left the club well behind their rivals for a place in the Premier League’s top six.

“To put it into perspective, we want to be a top-six sustainable club and Tottenham’s latest accounts available, (total revenue) was £440 million. We are at £250 million, so there is a big step even to the lower end of the top six,” Eales told reporters.

“We have also seen that Manchester City are £710 million in revenue in their latest accounts. There is a long way to go in growing those revenues.”

Over £400 million has been spent on players since the takeover, but further investment could rest upon selling a key asset to free up funds with regards to FFP, which limits the losses that clubs can make.

Sven Botman, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak have been rumoured as potential targets for other clubs.

“Any decision we make will always be against the backdrop of the medium to long-term benefit for the club,” added Eales.

“It’s difficult to say specifically on certain players, but I can say that, if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, at times it is necessary to trade your players.”

Newcastle’s poor form has turned the spotlight on the future of manager Howe.

Eales, though, launched an impassioned defence of the Englishman, who led the club away from the relegation zone in his first season in charge before qualifying for the Champions League ahead of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea last season.

“There’s no doubt we have had that real progression on the pitch and Eddie is a huge, integral part of that,” said Eales.

“We hope he is going to be with us for many years to come.”

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