MARTIN SAMUEL: Newcastle could raid Arsenal in same fashion as City

MARTIN SAMUEL: Arsenal’s crushing defeat at St James’ Park should terrify Mikel Arteta in more ways than one… Newcastle have money and a clear long-term goal, they could raid the Gunners in the same way Man City once did

  • Newcastle could become the latest club to test Arsenal’s hunger for the fight
  • The Gunners choked in pursuit of top four at St James’ Park on Monday night
  • This result was a watershed. The Magpies are now one of their direct rivals
  • They have money, can pay big wages and their project has a clear long-term goal
  • It is not unthinkable that Newcastle can raid Arsenal in the same way as Man City

The capitulation at Tottenham was bad enough, but for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, what occurred at St James’ Park should be truly terrifying.

It’s happening again. Just as Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea came along, ‘parking his tanks on our lawn and firing £50 notes at us’ as David Dein had it, just as Manchester City committed raid after raid on Arsenal’s talent, might Newcastle be the latest club to test Arsenal’s hunger for the fight?

Chelsea rolled over them, the Jose Mourinho-era teams more determined, more physical and, later, bolstered by one of Arsenal’s outstanding players — Ashley Cole.

Newcastle’s win over Arsenal on Monday night was a watershed result in the Premier League

Mikel Arteta should be terrified, with the Magpies now another one of their direct rivals

Ultimately, Arsenal became facilitators as Manchester City were relaunched with Sheik Mansour’s wealth. Arsene Wenger stopped resisting the inevitable and lost Kolo Toure, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor to them in quick succession.

And now Newcastle. A young Arsenal player, Joe Willock, joined them in the Mike Ashley era, but clearly wasn’t wanted by Arteta. Yet Willock will still have many friends among the players who are said to be Arsenal’s future.

He is in a position to give his new club positive reviews, to tell them how much has changed there, what plans are being laid. It is not unthinkable that Newcastle try to raid Arsenal the way City once did.

And even if they do not, they might be competing for the same targets. Newcastle are genuine rivals now. They have the money, they can pay the wages, and this is a project with a clear long-term goal.

Arsenal? They have the best group of young players in the country, but will Arteta be given the money to back them?

It is not unthinkable that Newcastle raid Arsenal the same way Man City once did this summer

The Gunners were resigned to losing the likes of Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor to City

Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri also departed the Emirates to sign for their Premier League foes

Alan Hansen’s observation, ‘you can’t win anything with kids’, has passed into football legend, but Manchester United did not win the 1995-96 title with kids. There were 11 players making 29 appearances or more that season. In order: Peter Schmeichel, Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Lee Sharpe, Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane.

It was a young team, no doubt. But Sir Alex Ferguson supplemented a once-in-a-generation clutch of talent with older, experienced men. Will Arsenal do that?

If not, at what point do the likes of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe go the same way as previous generations and have their heads turned?

Eddie Howe has done an outstanding job, steering Newcastle away from relegation, but what has been missing to here is a statement result against one of the elite. Then on Monday it arrived. 

Eddie Howe’s side have money, can pay big wages and their project has a clear long-term goal

Tottenham and Manchester City put five past Howe’s Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea also won, but Arsenal choked. From a commanding position, it appears very likely they will now miss out on the Champions League next season.

And the competition is only getting stronger, with Newcastle now increasingly in the mix.

Monday’s result was a watershed. Much is being made of Arsenal surrendering their top-four spot to Tottenham, but it is not their nearest rivals who should worry them: it is a team who could not be farther away.

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