Pep Guardiola expects Newcastle United to try and follow the Manchester City template for success after their Saudi Arabia-backed takeover earlier this season.
The Magpies have steered clear of relegation after spending £90million in the January transfer window following the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). They travel to the Etihad on Sunday for what is now the richest game in world football and Guardiola expects further investment from Newcastle’s owners to try and accelerate their push towards the top of the league.
With that will further come scrutiny on Newcastle and their owners, but Guardiola has always defended City’s Abu Dhabi owners during his reign.
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City were initially handed a Champions League ban in February 2020 after UEFA’s club financial control body found them guilty of a “serious breach” of financial fair play regulations, but on appeal that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Guardiola revealed his defense of the club was based on trusting the owners, but that he had also told them he would quit if they ever lied to him.
“I am the spokesman for this club and every few days I’m here [in a press conference]. Every single word I said in all my press conferences, even if people don’t believe me, is because I truly, truly believe it. Why did I defend the club and the people? It’s because I work with them,” said Guardiola.
“When they are accused of something I ask them ‘tell me about that’, they explain and I believe them. I said to them ‘if you lie to me, the day after I am not here’. I will be out and I will not be your friend anymore.
“I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that. When you put something here [sponsor on a shirt] it’s overpaid, but other [clubs] the money comes from the USA but the money is correct, even if it’s higher. We have to deal with that, we have to fight with that.”
City won their appeal at CAS in July 2020, but before there had been talk they would seek the ban to be delayed while they went through the process of taking the case to court.
Nine Premier League clubs wrote to CAS and opposed City asking for a “stay of execution” – Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham and Wolves – and Guardiola hasn’t forgotten the identity of them.
“What CAS said means a lot to all of us, in the end, it breaks all the suspicions. I cannot forget nine teams in the Premier League who want to sack Manchester City from the league and the European competitions, these nine teams push and I know here [in my head] who they are. I like when CAS said at that moment we did it properly.
“It’s a situation in 2012 or 2013, I was still in Barcelona, most of the people running that are not here now, but of course, I would not like it, what I like is to represent a club who do things properly [and] well, it’s not about winning the Champions League and the Premier League, we want to do well for our people and our fans.”
Newcastle can accept similar criticism during their spending over the next few years, with success clearly the goal for a club that are now the richest in the world.
“I think the intention is like this. Without Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Mansour, these incredible facilities, the CEO to get resources and sponsors, we are where we are,” Guardiola said.
“I didn’t speak with the Newcastle owners but I think it’s what they’re going to try and do, if they do it or not I don’t know, nobody knows.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.