Newcastle's hypothetical XI of transfer targets from 2021 billed as 'worst team ever'

Newcastle’s hypothetical XI of transfer targets from 2021 has been called the “worst ever”.

There was understandably a buzz of excitement after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought an 80% stake in the club in October 2021. Marking the end of Mike Ashley’s miserable reign, many fans speculated over the array of stars the new injection of funds would bring to St James’ Park over the course of the 2021/22 season.

But many of the players linked with a move to the Magpies just two-and-a-half years ago have suffered a dramatic fall from grace. And a graphic posted by BBC’s Match of the Day based on Newcastle’s rumoured targets has now resurfaced, showcasing how the club dodged several bullets - and why it’s never a good idea to base squad-building on fan opinions.

READ MORE: Athletic Bilbao president confirms Nico Williams stance amid £46million Newcastle interest

READ MORE: Newcastle United would have to 'consider' £15 million bid for fan favourite

Almost the entire 11 are now unlikely to break into the current Newcastle team. Mauro Icardi, Galatasaray’s 31-year-old goal-scorer, led the line, being flanked by Manchester United flops Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. The former now plays in the South Korean K League while Martial is a free agent.

The bizarre XI also did away with any kind of coherent formation, showing Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling and Qatar Stars League midfielder Philippe Coutinho in the wing-back positions.

In central-midfield were two players who have likewise declined drastically in Aaron Ramsey, now at Cardiff City and battling injuries, and Donny van de Beek - another Manchester United flop - who did not look much better in an Eintracht Frankfurt shirt towards the end of last season.

Karl Darlow was thrown in between the sticks despite now being a bench warmer for Leeds United. And the defence was equally as shambolic.

James Tarkowski was potentially a decent shout - but he was joined by a fourth Red Devils reject in Eric Bailly, along with Federico Fernandez, who left the club for Spanish minnows Elche in 2022.

Donny van de Beek was one of many bad shouts
Donny van de Beek was one of many bad shouts -Credit:Ryan Browne/REX/Shutterstock

One X user rediscovered the post and captioned it: "Worst hypothetical XI ever posted online. Try and find a worse one."

Fortunately, Newcastle bosses had more sense and did their due diligence, signing players who were on the ascent. Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood, Joe Willock, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier were bought for a combined £110million in the transfer window that followed the takeover, while Matt Targett was brought in on loan from Aston Villa.

The shrewd bit of business - and the appointment of Eddie Howe - made an instant impact as the Magpies finished in 11th place, climbing out of the relegation zone after showing spectacular form after January. They built on that success the following season by securing a top four finish for the first time in two decades.