Plenty of Newcastle United supporters rejoiced in the streets outside St James’ Park when PIF’s takeover of the club became official last year.
The Saudi Arabian consortium took control of the Magpies from Mike Ashley and enjoyed a superb first transfer window in charge.
They provided Eddie Howe with a host of new signings in January, including Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Matt Targett, Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes. This raft of additions has helped to lift the team outside of the relegation zone and up to 14th in the table as it stands.
On the other hand, Ashley did not have the best of luck when it came to making signings in recent seasons on Tyneside.
One current player with whom the Sports Direct supremo had a howler was left-back Jamal Lewis. The Northern Ireland international joined from Norwich for a fee of £15m in September 2020 but it has been a disaster of a move to date.
Lewis caught the eye with the Canaries as an attack-minded, quick full-back who could bomb up and down the left flank throughout a match. He then joined a Steve Bruce side and spent his time in a low block, defending more than he was attacking, and this did not suit him at all.
The youngster started 20 Premier League matches in his debut campaign for the club and averaged a lowly SofaScore rating of 6.48. This shows that he struggled to put in consistent performances with the contrast in style between then-Norwich boss Daniel Farke and ex-Magpies gaffer Bruce.
He was recently left out of the club’s 25-man squad for the second half of the current Premier League season, with new coach Eddie Howe opting to go with other options instead. Lewis reportedly turned down the chance to go out on loan to the Championship on deadline day, choosing to remain at St James’ Park despite not being able to play in the league.
Former Premier League goalkeeper Paddy Kenny dubbed him “really strange” for rejecting the move, whilst journalist Luke Edwards claimed that the 24-year-old has been “badly damaged” by the criticism of his performances.
Perhaps the negativity around his time at Newcastle played a part in his decision to avoid a loan move, as the full-back may want to take some time to work on himself in training before going again in pre-season. He can work hard behind the scenes for the next six months and then look to seal a transfer away from the club, either on loan or permanently.
Either way, a £15m signing has ended up being surplus to requirements and wasting away at the training ground for the remainder of this season at least, and it all came from the move not suiting him from the outset. Therefore, Ashley had a howler with the Magpies dud, as the purchase was a failure during his tenure on Tyneside.