Newcastle United are a club transformed over the past couple of years.
There are plenty of reasons why, and they all culminated in Newcastle playing in the Champions League on Tuesday night against AC Milan.
The change of ownership is the main factor, as everything else is a product of that moment in 2021. Their decision to appoint Eddie Howe and back him with significant investment has led to the Magpies becoming a real force, and one that did not wilt under the pressure of the San Siro.
Howe has made brilliant signings during his time as manager, bringing in players who have had a transformative impact on the club. The two that stand out are Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes.
Trippier was the first to arrive, and set the tone for the new Newcastle United, while Bruno was the first real superstar to arrive at St James’ Park.
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However, Howe believes that another one of his signings has helped transform his side too.
Eddie Howe believes Nick Pope ‘transformed’ Newcastle’s defence
Ahead of the game against Sheffield United, Howe spoke to the media. He heaped praise on Nick Pope for what he has done since joining Newcastle United.
“He’s highly driven, a great professional and his last two displays have been very, very good and that’s the Nick we saw for the majority of last season,” he said.
“He’s a difference maker when he plays like that. He transformed our backline and he gives everyone confidence. I’m delighted with him.”
What a signing he has been for Newcastle
Pope joined the club from Burnley last year, arriving for £10million.
At the time, he did not look like a major improvement on Martin Dubravka. However, he absolutely has been.
The 31-year-old was one of our stars last season, and he showed his class again on Tuesday night. Pope was outstanding against AC Milan, on what was his Champions League debut.
The England international is another player who has had a seismic impact since arriving at St James’ Park, epitomising how good the club’s recruitment has been since the change of ownership.
Pope proved how valuable he is on Tuesday night, and hopefully this is the beginning of another rich vein of form for the man ‘in the middle of our goal’.