Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United side are expected to jet out to Saudi Arabia later on this month in a bid to bring the squad closer together as they desperately try to avoid relegation
Newcastle United will travel to Saudi Arabia for the first time since the club was purchased by the country’s Public Investment Fund later this month.
The Magpies are expected to jet out to the Middle Eastern country following their trip to Leeds United on January 22.
The trip is designed to give the players a chance to enjoy a warm-weather training camp while also giving the club the chance to take part in some media duties in an attempt to raise their profile in Saudi Arabia.
However, the mid-season getaway is likely to spark uproar among fans for a number of different reasons.
The first stems from the controversy that marred the takeover when it was first completed back in October of last year as there was huge debate as to whether Saudi Arabia’s human rights record should prevent the deal from happening in the first place.
PIF governor and Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is expected to meet the players, but it remains unclear if the country’s leader, Mohammed bin Salman, will do the same.
It is likely to raise eyebrows if Bin Salman is present at any point during the trip given Newcastle had to argue to the Premier League at great length that he would not be connected to the club in any way as a result of the takeover.
The PIF now own an 80-per-cent stake at St James’ Park and have already been on hand to help finance two transfers in the January window.
The first came in the form of Ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier, who cost the club a reported fee of around £12m earlier this month.
He has since been joined by a fellow former Burnley talent in striker Chris Wood, who cost the Magpies £28m after they activated the ex-Turf Moor talisman’s release clause.
The arrival of both puts Newcastle’s spend for the winter window at £37m just under a fortnight in with further investment expected.
Newcastle United via Getty Image)
After their visit to Elland Road, Newcastle are not in action again until February 8, giving them ample time to make their trip to Saudi, as reported by the Daily Mail.
It has not yet been confirmed whether high-ranking club officials will also make the trip given it is set to take place during the last week of the transfer window when more business could be on the agenda.
Howe’s side currently sit 19th in the table with just one win all season.
The Magpies have taken 11 points from 19 games and are two points adrift of 17th placed Watford, though Newcastle have played at least one game more than plenty of their relegation rivals.