Newcastle United’s reported interest in 29-year-old Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain risks damaging the long-term strategy PIF have for the club.
What’s PIF’s transfer strategy at Newcastle?
Newcastle have made a number of astute signings since the arrival of the Saudi-backed Private Investment Fund (PIF), with the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Sven Botman proving huge successes so far on Tyneside.
These two names, as well as the £60m acquisition of Alexander Isak, fit the strategy described by George Caulkin and Chris Waugh in The Athletic as luring the best up-and-coming talent, who are 24 or under and can grow with the club.
PIF have often resisted the temptation for glamour signings, with older additions such as Kieran Tripper bringing reliability and top-level experience, and Dan Burn appeasing the fanbases’ want for a local hero to rally behind. And both of whom have built a solid foundation for Eddie Howe, to now enable more longer-term signings.
Why Oxlade-Chamberlain is not the man for Newcastle
However, out-of-favour Oxlade-Chamberlain does not fit the bill for PIF’s transfer plans at all.
Having been a part of the Liverpool team to win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Club World Cup, along with winning three other FA Cups with Arsenal, he represents the type of glamour signing that PIF have avoided since arriving at St James’ Park.
The ex-Southampton man’s name carries weight because of the teams he has been a part of, but in reality, he was a bit-part player in most in these triumphs, and has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, with some of his performances even being lambasted as “atrocious” by writer Johnny Ward.
As per Transfermarkt, Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed a staggering 88 matches through injury since arriving on Merseyside, and for that reason cannot be relied upon to arrive and make the same impact that a player who has also enjoyed previous success – Trippier – has made at the club.
There is nothing to suggest a change of club would have any bearing on the £125k-per-week man being able to play consistently and he could easily become a nagging subplot for manager Eddie Howe if he continues to struggle for form and fitness.
The Magpies have been linked with the likes of 22-year-old midfielder Khephren Thuram and 23-year-old winger Moussa Diaby, who fit PIF’s transfer strategy much better, and have much more potential to grow and develop with the project.
If sporting director Dan Ashworth were to make a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain, then it would represent a step backwards in terms of building for the future, and would pose a massive risk with his injury history and lack of consistency over many years.