Spending Saudi Gold | Season 5 | Neymar at Newcastle

Newcastle United became Champions of England for the first time after blowing more than £1 billion in four years to bring in some of the world’s best young talent. And director of football Alan Shearer had even more money available to tweak the squad in a bid to defend that maiden title.

2025 transfer budget: £147 million

A starting budget of £132 million was boosted by more sales, including Anel Ahmedhodzic going to Leicester for £23 million and Joao Cancelo going to Roma for £15 million.

And Shearer decided now was the time to go all-in by signing a massive global star. And that man… was Neymar. Now 33, he’s still ridiculously good and fills what was a vaguely troublesome area for the club last season. He arrived for a cut-price £10 million but made up for that with a ridiculous contract I’m almost too embarrassed to reveal the details of.

Then the opportunity arose to sign another global star, so he brought in Italian midfielder Nicoló Barella for £60 million rising to £100 million. Even though he’s now 28, this guy is so good!

The need for homegrown players was met by signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ethan Laird on free transfers. And that need was further assisted as a load of Man City players requested to leave the club after they finished 7th last season. So Newcastle went big to bring in Phil Foden for £70 million potentially rising to £150 million. What a signing!

And what a summer this has been for the reigning champions as they massively strengthened their squad. The signings forced Declan Rice to move back to centre-back and Fikayo Tomori to right-back. But the squad is strong and the starting 11 is pretty ridiculous!

Goalkeepers: Vandevoordt, Bazunu
Defenders: Tomori, Laird; Rice, Fofana, Inácio; Hernández, Mendes
Midfield: Barella, Foden, Moriba, Gavi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Verratti
Wingers: Fati, Neymar, Olmo, Pino, McNeil
Strikers: Vlahovic, Martínez, Moukoko

Dominant Premier League defence

The new signings had an immediate impact as Foden and Neymar scored in a 7-1 battering of Tottenham to win the Charity Shield. They also both scored on their league debuts alongside a Dusan Vlahovic brace in a 4-1 win at Tottenham on the opening day.

That set the tone for a stellar start to the season as they won their first 10 games and 17 of their first 18. That included a league record 9-3 win at Burnley in which Vlahovic scored five! Newcastle scored 60 goals in those 18 games, with Vlahovic leading the league with 18 in 16 and a 7.97 average rating. He also had 25 in 22 in all competitions, while Lautaro Martínez has 17 in 22 and Neymar has 12 goals and 12 assists in 22 games.

That led to Vlahovic winning the Goal 50 award for the best player in the world, the Ballon d’Or, FIFA Best Men’s Player and FIFPro Player of the Year after scoring 60 goals in 46 games in 2025! While Youssoufa Moukoko won the Best U21 Men’s Player after 16 goals in 37 games and Wesley Fofana, Ansu Fati and Vlahovic made the FIFA Team of the Year.

There was no relenting after Christmas as some huge wins like an 8-0 thumping of Southampton and 7-1 battering of West Brom saw the new-look Newcastle stroll to a Premier League defence.

They set a Premier League record with a ridiculous 104 points and 34 wins, only losing twice (at Chelsea and Man UFC) and drawing twice. They also scored a club record 127 goals, which was just one short of the all-time top-tier record set in 1930/31, and had the joint-best defence with 31 conceded.

Vlahovic was the league’s top scorer with an amazing 42 in 36 and broke his own record with an average rating of 7.96. As a result, he again won Footballer of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. Neymar got 17 league assists, which was 1 fewer than Raheem Sterling.

They also reached the Europa League Final, having been knocked out of the Champions League group by Real and Monaco, but lost 4-1 to Arsenal and a Lorenzo Lucca hat-trick.

Overall, Vlahovic scored 53 in 49 with a 7.89 average rating. Goals-wise he was followed by Martínez (31), Fati (27), Neymar (22), Moukoko (22), Ilaix Moriba (7) and Foden (6). Neymar also got 22 assists, followed by Vlahovic (16), Theo Hernández (15), Fati (14), Foden (13), Moriba and Barella (9).

New signings-wise, Neymar was pretty amazing with 22 goals and 22 assists and a 7.64 average rating. Foden was fairly solid but Barella was a bit of a disappointment.

The Newcastle board threw another £100 million of transfer kitty at their director of football, but this monumental success feels like a good place to bring this FM Experiment to an end. That said, Shearer had agreed a £40 million deal to bring “legendary winger” Raheem Sterling into Newcastle for the next campaign!

So there you have it. If you spend all of Newcastle’s money and blow £1.42 billion on the best wonderkids and some of the best players in the world, then yes, you can dominate the Premier League. But how will Newcastle’s spending compare in real life?

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