Newcastle United should not expect to sign the best players in the world as soon as their long-anticipated takeover by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund goes through, according to former Magpies player John Barnes.
A group headed up by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is closing in on a £300 million ($375m) deal to take over the Premier League club, with many fans excited about the possibility of huge investment in players, in spite of questions about Saudi Arabia's human rights record which has led to significant criticism.
Whatever the off-field issues, former England international Barnes thinks Newcastle supporters need to be patient and that they should not expect the north-east club to be immediately competing on the same footing as Manchester City when signing players.
Barnes told Bonus Code Bets: "Marquee signings for Newcastle are not marquee signings. Ronaldo is not going there, Messi is not going there, Mbappe is not going there. If they are sold, I still don’t think that the best players in the world are going to go to Newcastle.
"They’re not marquee signings, they’re players that Newcastle probably couldn’t have got before the Saudi Arabians take over. Everyone wants to try and get better players. Better players don’t mean marquee signings, it’s just better players than what they have.
"They’ll spend more money, attract more players in terms of the salaries they’re going to pay, that’s the same as any club."
It remains to be seen when any players, whether Ronaldo, Messi or otherwise, will be taking the field in Newcastle, with the Premier League season currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
There are plans being discussed for 'Project Restart', which could see the Premier League resume in the coming weeks, however without fans in attendance and the possibility of games being played at neutral venues to stop supporters gathering outside.
Barnes however feels the neutral venue proposal is unfair, and it would be better to wait until it is safe for teams to play at their own grounds, rather than rushing to an unsatisfactory compromise.
He said: "I don’t like the idea of playing in neutral stadiums, I don’t see the point of playing in neutral stadiums. The whole situation is that we have to get back playing when it’s safe.
"Why do we have to play in neutral stadiums? You’ve got your home fixtures and your away fixtures. If you're talking about no promotion or no relegation it’s ridiculous, you shouldn’t be doing it unless everybody buys into the fact that you want to play in neutral stadiums but you’re still going to get relegated, but people want more to suit.
"I don’t see why you can’t play the season out with the home matches you have left and the away matches you have left. If they want to do it in empty stadiums, do it in empty stadiums. I don’t see the point of neutral stadiums."