EPL

Eddie Howe knows Newcastle will find it tough to strengthen in January

By Sports Desk January 12, 2024

Eddie Howe has admitted Newcastle have few friends as they attempt to bolster their squad in January against the background of stringent spending limits in the wake of their £400million spree.

The Magpies’ latest financial figures for the year ended June 30, 2023 were published on Thursday and revealed a loss after tax of £73.4million, prompting chief executive Darren Eales to reveal they may have to sell before they can further strengthen their squad.

Howe has been linked with a January move for Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke, but the 46-year-old insisted such a deal was currently beyond his pocket.

He said: “(It’s) a frustrating story for me because yes, I love Dominic Solanke – I signed him and I rate him very, very highly.

“But we have not made an enquiry for him and we don’t have the ability to sign a player of that level.”

Howe’s squad has been decimated by injuries and Sandro Tonali’s 10-month suspension, and Newcastle will go into Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City with 10 players unavailable and latest addition Joelinton facing a minimum of six weeks on the sidelines.

The Brazilian’s misfortune – he has a thigh tendon issue – exacerbates the club’s problems in midfield, which had already prompted an interest in a temporary, but so far unrequited, move for City’s Kalvin Phillips, although even that is proving problematic.

Howe said: “I’m not sure there’s many clubs out there that are willing to help us currently.

“To agree a loan deal, you need the club to agree to that deal, so we’re in that moment where I’m not sure we have many friends in the market.”

Asked if loan signings were a possibility, he added: “We’re not shutting the door on everything, but certainly as I sit here now, no, we’re not going to bring anyone in. But that may change as the window unfolds.”

Newcastle’s predicament may attract little sympathy with their Saudi-backed owners having invested heavily to recruit the likes of Kieran Trippier, Sven Botman, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak since completing their takeover in October 2021, and Eales’ admission that players may have to be sold contradicts the narrative which has surrounded the club since.

Howe, who insisted the Magpies do not want to sell their better players, said: “There was this perception when the owners took over that we were the richest club in the world. The reality is that’s not really important when talking about FFP.

“That’s irrelevant. We are where we are based on income and we have to improve those revenue streams.

“Selling players is part of every football club’s DNA now. It has to be with Financial Fair Play rules because we have to generate more income and to sign players, we may have to sell players.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean star players – whatever you mean by that term – but certainly selling players will be something this club will do now for the foreseeable future.”

Meanwhile, Howe expressed sympathy for the club’s travelling fans after their FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham was scheduled for 7pm on Saturday, January 27, when the last train back to the city leaves at around 9pm.

He said: “I do have sympathy for them. We’re all at the mercy of the TV companies and when they want to schedule games, and I don’t think enough consideration is given to the supporters and what they have to do to get to and from the games.”

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