EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle United will jet out to Saudi Arabia for a training camp this month in first visit since the £305m takeover by the country’s Public Investment Fund – but it’s NOT clear if Eddie Howe’s squad will meet leader Mohammed bin Salman
- Sportsmail understands the squad will head to Saudi after a game on January 22
- The Newcastle squad will spend their time at a warm-weather training camp
- The trip is sure to attract attention given the controversy of the £305m buyout
- PIF governor and Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is likely to meet the team but it is not known if Saudi leader, Mohammed bin Salman, will do likewise
Newcastle United are set to visit Saudi Arabia for the first time this month since being taken over by the country’s Public Investment Fund, in a trip that is sure to attract criticism.
The squad have been told they will fly from the UK on Sunday, January 23, the day after their Premier League match at Leeds. Club sources have confirmed the trip and say they are now awaiting sign-off from a Covid-19 and logistical perspective.
Eddie Howe’s side are due to spend time at a warm-weather training camp and it is thought there could also be some PR engagements.
Newcastle United will head to Saudi Arabia for the first time this month since their takeover
Eddie Howe’s side will spend their time at a warm-weather training camp in Saudi
Their planned stay will attract media attention given the controversy of the £305million buyout in October.
There has been much focus on Saudi’s human-rights record and Amnesty International have expressed concern over the club being used for ‘sportswashing’.
Howe and his players have so far answered all questions on the subject by insisting their focus is on football.
PIF governor and Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is likely to meet the team while in Saudi, although it is not known if the country’s leader, Mohammed bin Salman, will do likewise.
PIF governor and Magpies chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan (centre-left) is likely to meet the team
It is not known if Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, will meet the team
Newcastle had to convince the Premier League that Bin Salman and the Saudi state had no connection to the takeover of the club before it was signed off.
PIF – said to be worth £700billion – now own an 80-per-cent stake in the Magpies, with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers splitting the remaining shares.
The new owners have spent £37m on Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood already this month, with more investment expected.
Following the game at Leeds, Newcastle are not scheduled to play again until February 8, although their time in Saudi will coincide with the last week of the transfer window.
There is a chance that new signings could meet their team-mates for the first time in the country.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk