Newcastle United fans have a reason to be excited about their football club following the official confirmation that Saudi Arabian consortium PIF have completed their takeover from Mike Ashley.
They are reportedly expected to make a splash in the transfer market in the coming years to bring glory back to Tyneside, which could start in the January transfer window.
This comes after their attempted takeover of Newcastle in 2020 was blocked by the Premier League. During their first attempt, they had one player in mind to come in and transform the starting XI – Ciro Immobile.
The Italy striker revealed at the end of the transfer window that PIF had been in contact with his agent over a potential switch before the deal to take over at St James’ Park fell through and Immobile stayed at Lazio.
“Then the Premier League did not approve that proposal, or the fund withdrew, I don’t remember well.”
Now that they have finally been able to complete their purchase of Newcastle, PIF must reignite their interest and get back on the phone to Immobile’s agent. They clearly felt he would be a suitable signing a year ago and there does not appear to be anything to have happened in the past 12 months with the striker which could change that view, which is why they should target him again.
Immobile is a lethal goalscorer who has proven himself time and again in Italy for Lazio, and PIF could unearth Newcastle’s next Alan Shearer by bringing him in.
Does that sound like an over-exaggeration of Immobile’s talents to compare him to Shearer? Well…
Italian journalist and coach Giancarlo Padovan once compared him to Italy legend Christian Vieri and hailed his form for Lazio as ‘stratospheric’. He said: “Immobile reminds me a lot of Christian Vieri and this should reassure Italy given his goal-scoring form. Then there is also Belotti, unlike Immobile he has always played good games with the National team. Immobile is stratospheric with Lazio, but less so in the National team.”
Shearer ended his career with 206 goals in 405 appearances for the Toon Army, which means that he scored a goal every 1.96 matches for the club. Immobile, meanwhile, has scored 156 goals in 227 matches for Lazio in all competitions, which works out at a goal every 1.45 matches.
This does not mean that Immobile is a better striker than Shearer was for Newcastle, as it is impossible to say with the difference in quality between the Serie A and the Premier League. However, it does suggest that he has the potential to score goals at a similar rate for the Magpies if he does adapt to English football, as he has shown remarkable consistency and quality for Lazio over the years.
Therefore, PIF must reignite their interest in Immobile in January or next summer and use their wealth to lure him to St James’ Park to come and be the club’s main goal-getter.