By Dr Dan Plumley

21st Nov, 2021 | 8:00am

Dr Dan: PIF's 'motivations are clear' after 'bizarre' Newcastle development

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund’s motivation for buying Newcastle United is to gain “soft power” in global politics.

So says finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Doctor Dan Plumley, speaking exclusively about the latest “bizarre” story on Tyneside.

PIF’s £305million Newcastle takeover has been internationally condemned by activists because of the Saudi state’s appalling human rights record.

The murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one of the most high-profile examples of the state’s violation of civil liberties.

The Daily Mail reported on 14 November that a high-ranking Saudi official involved in the murder is now attacking critics of the takeover on Twitter.

It is claimed that Saud Al-Qahtani is operating under the pseudonym ‘KateStewart22’ to castigate journalists who oppose the regime.

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Plumley claims that PIF’s intentions with the Newcastle takeover are to lend legitimacy and cultural acceptance to the autocratic regime.

“It’s a bizarre story,” the Sheffield Hallam University expert told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“There is legal separation between PIF and the Saudi state but we know that they are obviously connected.

“It’s similar to what we have seen with Man City and Etihad and PSG and Qatar. This is another cog in the wider narrative.

“I am not an expert on international relations but you have got that soft power in football and the motivations for it are clear.

“When you look at it from the objective finance view, you can start to pull on the threads a little bit.

“If you become the wealthiest club on the planet, there are going to be other offshoots and stories like this.

“Other clubs are not happy and thought the Premier League should have stopped the takeover.

“It raises the point of competition design in the Premier League as well.

“These club are all trying to outdo each other on the pitch but they also need each other to survive.”

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor issues Newcastle United ultimatum after Eddie Howe’s pre-Brentford promise.