Ever since the Saudi PIF took Newcastle over at the back end of 2021, the question has been when, not if, will they break into the UEFA Champions League?
This season the priority under Eddie Howe was safety, having won just one of their first 20 Premier League games under Howe and previous manager Steve Bruce.
But now unbeaten in eight games, with six wins in that run, the Magpies now sit seven points above the relegation zone and can start planning ahead for their assault on football’s elite.
Many reports have been shared of Newcastle targeting top level players to add to their squad, including the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Kalvin Phillips and even Marcus Rashford.
Bringing in that calibre of talent would undoubtedly accelerate their push towards breaking through the glass ceiling, but how realistic is that? Not very.
The first priority for the Tyneside club is going to be to separate themselves from the clubs at the bottom of the league in order to avoid this same situation next season.
Players like Chris Wood were brought in more to weaken their opposition than strengthen their squad and are unlikely to be starters going into the new season, while there is room to improve almost all other positions.
But they won’t be able to skip stages and go straight to signing top level players because of the money they now have available to them.
The ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham – all have huge amounts of money available to them also and they won’t stop spending just because Newcastle are going to start.
When Man City got their billions overnight, they had several years of competing in a much weaker league than now before they were able to break that barrier.
They didn’t have FFP regulations to deal with either back then, which is something that the Saudi’s must adhere to.
My prediction for Newcastle to make it into Europe’s elite competition is at least four seasons because of the standard of the big six currently and all the teams in between them too.
They will likely improve year on year, but not everything will go their way. They will miss out on key targets to other clubs, they will lose players to top sides, they’ll have spells where their form is bad and the manager gets changed.
They will get there eventually, I have no doubts, but it will be longer than many are expecting it to be in my eyes.