Newcastle won the £700 million transfer prize after winning the Premier League poll.

Newcastle won the £700 million transfer prize after winning the Premier League poll.
Newcastle won the £700 million transfer prize after winning the Premier League poll.

Newcastle successfully fought off a Premier League rule change on Tuesday which would have banned them from loan trading with clubs also owned by the Public Investment Fund.

Eddie Howe may choose from a whopping £700 million worth of players from teams that are also owned by Newcastle’s Saudi owners.

A Premier League rule amendment that would have prohibited Newcastle chiefs Amanda Staveley and Darren Eales from loan trading with teams that are also controlled by the Public Investment Fund was successfully resisted on Tuesday.

Newcastle’s rivals were worried that the Saudi Pro League would be used as a low-cost backdoor to sign big names in January and fill roster shortages brought on by an injury crisis.

However, just 12 clubs supported the plan, and for it to be approved, two more Premier League shareholder clubs have to vote in favor of it.

A multi-club model includes eleven elite clubs, such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

But it is Newcastle who would benefit the most, given the huge spending on established European stars by the Saudi Pro League.

The PIF – the Saudi state investment fund – own four clubs in the Saudi Pro League who spent £700m last summer.

Al-Hilal spent an estimated £320m alone, with Al-Ahli splashing around £180m, Al-Ittihad spending £105m and Al-Nassr parting ways with £105m.

Global superstars Neymar – currently a long-term injury victim – was Al-Hilal’s biggest buy at £90m.

But it is the possibility of Newcastle trying to land Ruben Neves on loan in January to replace banned Sandro Tonali that kicked off the row.

The ex-Wolves midfielder is admired by Toon boss Howe, whose January budget is limited by FFP rules, meaning a loan signing would suit.

But should Howe want to shop elsewhere in the PIF stable, he could pick other big names.

One of the most intriguing is Al-Ahli’s £37m Gabri Veiga, a talented Spain U21 international who is sought after around Europe – but ended up in Saudi Arabia in the summer after leaving Celta Vigo.

The move was labelled “embarrassing”, and it would be inconceivable if he is not on Newcastle’s radar either in the short or medium term, with Chelsea and Liverpool also interested.

Newcastle still have to prove any deals are “fair value” to the Premier League.

Al-Nassr also have Cristiano Ronaldo on their books, but Newcastle sources strongly ruled out any move for the Portuguese legend last summer. The 38-year-old doesn’t suit Howe’s high energy playing style either.

Other interesting experienced players owned by the PIF include Karim Benzema, a free transfer from Real Madrid, and Aymeric Laporte, formerly of Manchester City who once interested Newcastle.

Howe is coy about his January plans. Just before the international break he was asked about the rule changes and loan signings – and said:

“If there’s anything we can do to find them an edge we will try to find that “At the moment I don’t have any plans for January.

It’s such a moving thing in a sense we don’t have clearly identified targets. There’s too many moving parts at this stage and a lot of football to be played.

“From our side there are injuries that may return and injuries that may not return. It’s very difficult for us to have finalised those plans at this stage. I’m involved in the football world. We want to compete on the pitch within the rules that are set for us.”

Newcastle are not the only outfit who could exploit multi-club models. Chelsea owners, Clearlake Capital, bought Strasbourg in Ligue 1 this year.

City Football Group own clubs including New York City, Melbourne City and Troyes. Incoming Manchester United stakeholder Jim Ratcliffe owns Nice.

Despite Newcastle’s victory, the issue of how all Premier League clubs exploit the financial power and reach of their owners will remain a issue.

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