Newcastle boss Eddie Howe lays down summer transfer marker with "evolution" admission
In a dent to fans’ hopes of a huge summer squad transformation, the United boss has warned it will be “evolution” on Tyneside. Howe reckons totally changing the squad is “not an option”. Co-owner Amanda Staveley vowed Newcastle would challenge for the league in 5-10 years, and new signing Bruno Guimaraes has spoken of playing in Champions League at St James’ Park.
But Howe today admitted that while the Saudi-funded club will build more slowly. Newcastle have been trumpeted as the “richest in the world” because they are owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia one of the biggest on the planet. Howe revealed today there is an element of truth in the Geordies not having the firepower in the transfer market that many want.
Newcastle spent £94m in the January window, which Howe says has impacted on their ability to do big deals in the summer. Asked if there is now a “reduced budget” from expectations, Howe replied: “There's an element of truth in that. With Financial Fair Play, we have restraints and we have things that we have to work within, so we can't just go out and spend money on players like maybe teams could have done in the past and totally change their squad within one transfer window.
“That is not an option for us. The more money you spend in one window, the more it impacts your ability to then spend in windows beyond. The rules are there to govern the game properly and we have to follow suit, so that does impact what we can do this summer. But it doesn't mean that we're totally without ambition. We want to try to bring the right players in, ones that are proud to wear the shirt and that can make a difference. Everyone wants to go quickly, that is very difficult to do. It is about smart decisions. We're well aware that we have to change the squad and we have to make improvements, but it's going to be a difficult balance."
Profit and sustainability rules mean that clubs can lose £105m over a three year period, and given their healthy accounts under Mike Ashley, it was believed they would have big scope to spend, if funded by the Saudi money. Asked if that would be a let down, Howe replied: “No, not from the vision that was sold to them because the club will get there. I am a believer in that the club will get where it wants to be. The time it takes to get there, I think that is something no one can predict.
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“In terms of a massive spend there are rules in place to stop that, it is all linked to boundaries we have to work towards. We will do our best to produce a better team. I’m always a firm believer that you don’t want to make too many changes. Too many incomings can have a negative effect on the group. Those numbers were right for January and that was what the team needed. It wasn’t too many where we lost our feel. The feel was enhanced by the players we brought it. Their attitudes and mentality was very good and instantly you felt the uplift from those players. Evolution not revolution is a good line. I’ve adopted it and I continue to use it.”
Last week Paul Dummett was handed a contract expansion, and Sean Longstaff is close to signing a new deal. One way Newcastle can increase their firepower is by bringing in new sponsorship deals, because they have fallen behind rivals in commercial income. Asked about that, Howe replied: “You are asking the wrong man on that one. I will pass that question. I am sure there are plans under way. I am sure there are big ambitions, but I don’t know.” Howe will attempt to bring down the age profile of the Toon squad, and will look to add more goals to his side.