The final rounds of the group stages are just around the corner, and the clubs are at the business end of the tournament to get their qualifying ticket to the Round of 16.
Four scenarios exist for the English clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Newcastle. One side of Manchester has already qualified for the next Round, while the Reds of Manchester United are struggling.
The Seatsnet ticket marketplace saw massive hype for the outlier club, Newcastle United, who are in the tournament for the first time in decades.
But they have a challenge making it to the next round. After two decades, Newcastle’s Entry back to the Champions League has been exhilarating.
Newcastle star Jacob Murphy is delighted to hear the sound of the Champions League music echoing at St. James Park. Ahead of their game against AC Milan, Murphy shared what it meant to listen to the Champions League anthem and how significant it is for the club at this stage.
A year ago, Newcastle was acquired by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi, the sovereign fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and is setting the stage for a complete revamp of the historic club.
Under Eddie Howe, Newcastle saw a turnaround last season and hopes to be a dominating force soon. Making it to the Champions League this season was iconic.
For Murphy, hearing the Champions League anthem at San Siro, likening it to a goosebumps-inducing moment that highlighted the significance of playing at the pinnacle of club football. He emphasized his pride in wearing the Newcastle jersey in this prestigious tournament and relished the opportunity to soak in every detail during his first Champions League start.
Regarding the glamor the Champions League brings in, he emphasizes that the tournament goes way beyond the playing field, highlighting the professional setup, advertising, and elite atmosphere surrounding the competition.
Speaking as an ambassador for the football that Newcastle plays, he expressed the team’s collective dream coming true, fueled by the new owners and coach Eddie Howe, which revitalized their aspirations to compete at the highest level.
Even for the fans, it was a whole new experience. Some fans witnessed Newcastle’s great teams in the Champions League two decades ago, and now they are rejuvenated to see their club back in the Champions League. This excitement was evident as the game involving PSG was a sell-out at the Seatsnet ticket marketplace, a platform that has provided Champions League tickets for the last five seasons.
A Champions League draw has always had its household names – Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona etc. These teams usually attract a fair share of fans who are in pursuit of the best tickets. But with the entry of Newcastle, the demand has seen a significant rise.
The Seatsnet ticket marketplace has more traffic for returning fans in large quantities, excessively searching for Champions League tickets involving Newcastle.
Group of Death
After the thrill of qualifying for the Champions League, the team saw a shocking draw, with them alongside Milan, PSG, and Borussia Dortmund, affectionately termed the ‘Group of Death.’
Murphy revealed that the team watched the draw together at the training ground.
While it was a challenging opposition, Newcastle saw confidence in them as they were open to facing the iconic teams of Europe and making their mark on the European stage.
Reflecting on their Champions League journey, Murphy highlighted their memorable 4-1 victory over PSG as a significant highlight, expressing that it was one historic moment in their accolades.
While it was a triumphant win, Murphy is confident that the team did not stay hooked on the result and went on to focus on the rest.
While the momentum was boosted after the PSG game, Newcastle have yet to have the luxury of staying alive. The team sits at the bottom of the table with just the 4-1 win against PSG, one draw, and two losses.
The possibility of Newcastle still making it to Round 16 is alive but challenging. Considering the injuries at crucial stages of the season, it is daunting now.
The Road Ahead
Despite the adequate financial backing, Newcastle’s approach in the transfer window was restrained, with the side needing more signings. The ban on Sandro Tonali, the club’s marquee signing, and injuries to Harvey Barnes, Lewis Hall, and Tino Livramento have further strained their resources.
While the side showed good resilience in the Premier League, defeating a star-studded Chelsea lineup 4-1 without key players, the second stringent squad is raising concerns about their future in the Champions League.
Manager Eddie Howe acknowledged the Herculean effort of the available players but worries about their energy reserves when it comes to mid-week football in the Champions League.
Newcastle aspires to replicate Manchester City’s achievements with significant financial aid, but they need superstar talent to take on Europe.
Many of the current squad was part of a relegation-threatened side before Howe’s arrival, highlighting the club’s rapid transformation.
The rise and the progress last year, which was abrupt, brought a reality check on their stance.
Their path mirrors City’s journey, which involved struggles before eventual success in the competition after over a decade.
One of the most anticipated news from St. James’ Park is that Eddie Howe has his eyes on the transfer market, but the real question is if it is too late to salvage Newcastle’s current position.
The club is considering a move on Serhous Guirassy, an in-form Bundesliga striker with a reported release clause of around £15.2 million.
Guirassy has been impressive with his goal-scoring and is on the watch list for AC Milan, who are looking for a deal to replace the aging Olivier Giroud.
Another potential that Newcastle wants to target is Kalvin Phillips from Manchester City. This might be a tough call since City values Phillips, and getting him will be tough with the side with a challenge to retain their treble.
At City, Phillips is not a regular but comes in as an impact player under Guardiola.
With Newcastle looking for reinforcements in the midfield, the City player’s tactical understanding blends well with the brand of football that Newcastle plays.
Should Phillips move to Newcastle, it’s perceived as beneficial to all involved parties. City would gain financially with the transfer fee, but Newcastle would acquire a talented player, and Phillips would have the opportunity to showcase his abilities before the EURO 2024 tournament.
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