Two years ago, Newcastle United's focus was on preserving Premier League status and hoping to craft a team capable of treading water above danger at the bottom of the division.
Now, fortunes have changed drastically, and the Magpies currently compete for a place in next season's Champions League, one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and with a game in hand.
The influence of the opulent new owners has been profound, but not so much so as the appointment of manager Eddie Howe, who has meticulously set about crafting a team capable of competing against the supposed 'big six' of English football, evidenced by the sustained growth in the league and the club's endeavour in reaching this year's Carabao Cup final against Manchester United.
In order to continue the meteoric rise, Howe and co must throw the kitchen sink at a deal for Napoli prodigy Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has been linked with a move to St. James's Park, according to Football Insider.
The outlet states that the Georgian attacker demands that any new contract with his Serie A outfit must include a release clause, with the Magpies indeed poised to swoop.
Kvaratskhelia is currently valued at £100m, according to 90min, despite signing for Napoli for roughly only €10m (£9m) last summer.
From 29 appearances across all competitions, the 19-cap phenom has scored 13 goals and supplied 15 assists, integral in his outfit's remarkable title-chasing campaign - 18 points clear in the league - and progression into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
As per FBref, he ranks among the top 10% of attacking midfielders and wingers throughout Europe's major leagues for goals, the top 1% for assists, the top 6% for progressive carries and the top 9% for successful take-ons per 90, illustrating his all-encompassing forward skill set and the "magic" behind his craft, as lauded by transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
His partnership with team-mate Victor Osimhen has been particularly remarkable, with the Nigerian sharpshooter within the upper echelon of strikers in European football, scoring 23 goals from 28 matches.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti recently praised the pair as "very efficient", also heralding Kvaratskhelia as a "great player", with one source also calling the dynamic duo a "match made in heaven".
Should Newcastle succeed in what would certainly be the biggest transfer in the club's modern history, Howe could look to emulate the partnership by deploying the Napoli whiz alongside £63m summer signing Alexander Isak.
The Swede has struggled for fitness since arriving from Real Sociedad, missing 13 matches, but the 23-year-old has scored six times already in the Premier League, despite only starting on seven occasions.
With Isak starting to grow into his boots to complement a multi-faceted arsenal, Kvaratskhelia could indeed find a home next to the gem, the duo respectively flourishing in one of Europe's rising powerhouses.
The £120k-per-week machine ranks among the top 13% of forwards across Europe's big five leagues for progressive carries and the top 10% for successful take-ons per 90 himself, so the transitional nature of both footballers would only enhance the robustness of Howe's system.
Kvaratskhelia won't come cheap, but with Newcastle on the rise, a deal might just ascend the outfit to the forefront of European football.2023-03-19T07:22:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd