Almost as soon as the takeover was completed in October last year, we were being linked with Kieran Trippier. When leaving London for Madrid, it was seen as inevitable that he would return to England, particularly the North. Born in Bury, Greater Manchester, Kieran was always open to a move closer to home for family reasons if it were to materialise.
“I wanted to come back to the north, and up north, there was only Newcastle interested” - Kieran Trippier (Athletic)
Fast forward to the present day and the Trippier signing has been simply monumental. Many argue he has been the catalyst for the big-name talent coming through the door at St James’ and the subsequent awakening of a footballing giant. Speaking to the Athletic and Geordie legend Alan Shearer, Trippier revealed that there was “really strong interest” from Man United prior to eventually Newcastle stepping in. However, Atletico insisted on the release clause being met which ultimately proved to be a stumbling block for then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
For me, the timing of Kieran Trippier's decision to push for a return to his homeland was massive for Newcastle United in many ways. It was almost as if things just fell in place to pave his way to Tyneside.
By winning the La Liga title with Atletico, he was able to leave with the blessings of the Spanish giant's hierarchy, fans and manager Diego Simeone. His success in Madrid,
combined with the key role he played that season, resulted in a very strong relationship between player and
club. Seemingly this influenced the Madrid club’s stance on the asking price, with Newcastle agreeing to an initial fee of almost half Trippier’s release clause. His age also meant his next move would likely be his last, except for perhaps a lucrative move to America to end his career. So, as well as Atletico being more flexible on the price tag due to player loyalty, time was of the essence for Kieran. It’s hard to imagine a world where the ex-Tottenham star had signed for Man United instead. The Trippier deal was made a lot easier for Newcastle considering the factors above and he was indeed the marquee signing the new board allegedly sought after. He made the world take notice of us again and that is exactly what our club needed - a spark to reignite life.
But what if we hadn't signed Kieran Trippier?
Who would or could we have signed otherwise?
Would Bruno Guimarães or Sven Botman have signed for us?
Would we have been relegated?
There wasn’t a huge number of targets available at the time with the reputation of an England International and La Liga champion. There also wasn’t likely to be many high reputation players looking to join a club firmly rooted in a relegation fight either. The name that dominated headlines around the time Kieran signed, was that of Ousmane Dembélé of Barcelona. In my opinion, despite his stature in the game, his attitude and wages are simply bad for a football club. He is a complete contrast to the England star and would have had the opposite effect on the squad to that of the consummate professional Trippier. Dembélé would have been a marquee signing in the ilk of City’s signing of Robinho, as opposed to that of a Vincent Kompany.
I personally believe that the signing of Kieran Trippier will be the biggest moment in Newcastle United’s history. With the ambitions of our owners and their reputation for striving to be the best, the sky is the limit. However, I firmly believe without Trippier signing we would be years away now from acquiring players of Bruno and Botman’s well-rounded stature.
I think we got some good luck for once. What do you think?