Newcastle United entered a new era for the club in 2021 when Saudi Arabian consortium PIF completed their takeover from Mike Ashley.
The new owners made an instant impression on the supporters as fans gathered outside of St. James’ Park to celebrate the news and the work done in the transfer market since then has only added to the joy in the stands.
PIF have backed Eddie Howe in their first two windows in charge by bringing in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman, Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Alexander Isak, among others, and the Magpies are currently in the top-half of the Premier League table.
Before Howe and PIF, Newcastle had their fair share of transfer howlers over the years. Ashley was in charge for 14 years and one of the managers he put his faith in – Alan Pardew – had a shocker with Fraser Forster in 2012.
The English goalkeeper came up through the ranks in the Magpies academy and was sent out on loan to Bristol Rovers, Stockport and Norwich in League One before spending two seasons on loan at Celtic in Scotland.
At the end of his temporary stay in Glasgow, Forster was sold to the Hoops on a permanent basis for a fee in the region of £2m as Pardew seemingly did not believe that he was good enough to be worth keeping around at St. James’ Park.
He had kept 42 clean sheets in 69 Premiership outings but that was not enough to convince the Toon manager to give the 6 foot 7 stopper a chance in the first-team, which forced him to move north of the border in search of regular football.
Forster continued his fine form in Scotland and kept 36 shutouts in 71 league matches for Celtic, keeping 78 clean sheets in just four seasons in the Scottish top-flight.
The ‘keeper was once hailed as “unbelievable” by former Celtic teammate Scott Bain and current Livingston assistant manager Martin Bartley described him as a “machine“, with his statistics backing up those claims.
His sublime performances in Glasgow did not go unnoticed in the Premier League and Southampton snapped him up in the summer of 2014 for a fee of £10m.
Forster kept 34 clean sheets in his first three seasons with the Saints, playing 86 times in total. Tim Krul, who was Pardew’s number one between the sticks, kept 24 Premier League shutouts in 90 appearances between the summers of 2012 and 2015 for the Magpies.
This suggests that Forster had the potential to be a better option than the Dutchman in goal. Therefore, Pardew made a mistake by allowing the colossus to leave for £2m as Newcastle missed out on a talented goalkeeper and a bigger payday.