Newcastle can't rely on 'exciting' January transfer window – Howe

By Sports Desk November 11, 2021

Eddie Howe acknowledges the thought of spending Newcastle United's riches in January is "exciting" but his immediate focus is on getting the best out of the club's existing playing squad.

Newcastle were taken over last month by a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which became the richest football club owner in the world.

New director Amanda Staveley has spoken of targeting a Premier League title win in the next five to 10 years, with heavy investment expected to transform the team.

A host of high-profile players have been linked, including Barcelona trio Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

But Newcastle have nine Premier League fixtures to negotiate before the transfer window opens at the start of 2022 and sit five points adrift of safety in 19th place.

Howe was appointed as head coach this week but takes charge of a team winless in 11 this term, Newcastle's worst start to a league season in their history.

The four most recent examples of teams going 11 or more without a win in the Premier League ended in relegation, meaning Howe cannot afford to wait for new signings.

"That is exciting, but it's potentially far away for us," Howe told Sky Sports.

"January windows? I'm not sure, they're very unpredictable. Even to plan now is sometimes foolish, because things change at other clubs very, very quickly; players that may be available suddenly aren't available.

"We can't put our eggs in that basket, for me. If we don't get the players who are currently at this football club performing as well as they can do, it's not going to work.

"At the moment, I'm not looking at the January transfer window. All the speculation regarding players, which I've seen, is not relevant to us at this time.

"I can assure everybody my focus has been on the players we do have and will remain on the players we do have, because they're the ones that will ultimately be trying to get results for us between then and now."

One of the current Newcastle players of immediate interest to Howe is Allan Saint-Maximin, the team's talismanic winger who enjoyed a close relationship with previous coach Steve Bruce.

After two goals and three assists in his first six league games this season, Saint-Maximin is without a goal involvement in five matches – including four since the takeover was completed and three since Bruce was sacked.

Howe knows all about the player's ability, though. As Bournemouth manager, he provided the opposition for the only game in Saint-Maximin's career in which he has supplied three assists, back in July 2020 in a 4-1 Newcastle win.

"I'm really, really pleased to be working with Maxi," Howe said. "I think he's a very, very unique talent. He's a game-winner, a real difference-maker for us.

"First of all, we have to find a way to function as a team to get the best out of him. But he has to also contribute to the team – the two things go hand in hand.

"I'm really excited to try to figure out ways to play to his best levels, and his response in the two days [of training] has been excellent."

Related items

  • Bad weather puts Man Utd’s Champions League match at Galatasaray in doubt Bad weather puts Man Utd’s Champions League match at Galatasaray in doubt

    Manchester United’s Champions League match at Galatasaray is under threat from bad weather in Istanbul.

    Heavy rain has been falling in the city throughout the day and there are concerns over the state of the pitch at Rams Park.

    A statement from UEFA said: “We are closely monitoring the weather forecast and at this time the match will go ahead as scheduled.”

    United go into the match bottom of Group A having lost three of their four games so far in this season’s competition, and without a win away to Galatasaray in their last three visits.

    Galatasaray twice came from behind to win 3-2 when the sides met at Old Trafford in October, with Mauro Icardi scoring an 81st-minute winner after United midfielder Casemiro had been sent off.

  • VAR may have to go amid Premier League, Champions League controversies, says Anderton VAR may have to go amid Premier League, Champions League controversies, says Anderton

    VAR will have to be removed from football if officials cannot find ways to use the technology more effectively, says former England midfielder Darren Anderton.

    The use of video assistant referees has come under the spotlight this season, with a series of high-profile errors marring games in the Premier League and across Europe.

    In September, Luis Diaz was incorrectly denied a goal in Liverpool's loss to Tottenham due to a "significant human error" which refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) subsequently apologised for.

    Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta made headlines when he described the decision to allow Newcastle United's winning goal against Arsenal as a "disgrace", while Wolves boss Gary O'Neil said he had "finally turned against VAR" on Monday after Fulham were awarded two highly contentious penalties against his team.

    There was also controversy in the Champions League on Tuesday as Newcastle's Tino Livramento was harshly penalised for handball, allowing Kylian Mbappe to score a stoppage-time equaliser from the spot as Paris Saint-Germain rescued a 1-1 draw against the Magpies.

    While Anderton believes VAR was brought in for the right reasons, he cited frustrating delays after goals and repeated mistakes as reasons why many wish to see the back of it.  

    "I would have [liked VAR] in the FA Cup semi-final in 1993 when I got brought down!" Anderton, who was part of a Tottenham side beaten by Arsenal on that occasion, told Stats Perform.

    "I think it's a good thing and the idea of it is good, to make the right decisions, but it's not happening and that's a problem. 

    "There is nothing better than scoring a goal and you should be able to celebrate it and not worry that it's going to be chalked off.

    "I feel like it's almost at a point now that whenever there's a goal scored, you're looking for something for it to be ruled out. I think that's sad. 

    "I think that's sad for players to have to be that way because the adrenaline of scoring a goal in a Premier League game or for your country... there is no better feeling. 

    "If it's taken away, it's taken away, but when you've got to stand there for three minutes, four minutes, you've got to be able to celebrate those moments. They're what you play the game for. 

    "So unless it gets better, they're going to have to get rid of it, and that's wrong, because you do want the right decisions in football games."

    While the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has been discussing expanding VAR's remit to include other incidents such as yellow cards and corners, Anderton has a different idea.

    He suggested VAR should be part of a challenge system similar to that used in the NFL, saying: "I don't know whether you just go to a point where now, like in American football, managers get a challenge. 

    "You get two or three challenges in the match so it doesn't become a hundred-minute football match. It's pretty crazy, and it's frustrating to watch. I'm with everyone on that."

  • Alisson Becker injury ‘not as bad’ as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp first feared Alisson Becker injury ‘not as bad’ as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp first feared

    Injury has ruled out Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker for more than a fortnight but manager Jurgen Klopp admits it could have been worse and the Brazilian should be fit to face Manchester United next month.

    The keeper appeared to sustain a hamstring problem late in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City and although he managed to complete the match he is set to miss the next five matches – two of which he would not have played in as Caoimhin Kelleher deputises in the Europa League.

    Alisson will miss European ties against LASK and Union Saint-Gilloise as well as Premier League games against Fulham, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace but should make a timely return for the visit of their arch-rivals on December 17.

    Forward Diogo Jota was also injured in City game but his prognosis is not as good.

    “Both are out. Ali is a bit lesser, so we have to see. Not day by day – he cannot play tomorrow or Sunday. Probably not the week after should be kind of OK,” Klopp said ahead of the Europa League visit of LASK.

    “Alisson is not as bad (as we thought) but still bad enough. Diogo will take a little bit longer, don’t know exactly. Have to see.”

    Kelleher has made only five appearances this season but last played back-to-back matches in January 2022 and has never played more than three matches in a row in his Liverpool career.

    In the summer there was speculation about the 25-year-old wanting to seek first-team football elsewhere but Klopp said the current situation was exactly why the Republic of Ireland international was persuaded to stay.

    “Yes, that’s pretty much exactly it. That’s why we knew we wanted to have Caoimh here for these moments,” added the Liverpool boss.

    “Nobody, Caoimh as well, wanted Ali to get injured, but if these things happen then you need the strongest possible option and that’s Caoimh for us.

    “That’s the only positive about that, to be honest, that we can put in Caoimh. That’s fine.

    “Now he gets an opportunity that he deserves, he would have played tomorrow night anyway, that’s clear, but now he will have a few more games and hopefully he can show his full potential.”

    Defeat in Toulouse earlier this month made Liverpool’s task of guaranteeing top spot in the group – and thereby avoiding a play-off round in the knockout stages – slightly more difficult but it could be secured on Thursday at home to LASK if Union Saint-Gilloise beat the second-placed Ligue 1 side.

    But Klopp rejected the suggestion that result was a reminder that his much-changed European sides have standards to maintain.

    “It was not needed but it wasn’t helpful. It was three weeks ago and a lot of things happened since then. It just made the situation more difficult, that’s how it is,” he said.

    “Toulouse was maybe a one-off performance-wise – it was around Luton (a 1-1 draw) which was not too great either – but this was in a very short period of time.

    “Besides that the boys usually perform and that’s what we should concentrate on.

    “We want to win tomorrow night and we want to win in Belgium as well but if we don’t win tomorrow night the game in Belgium, in a super intense period, will be tough so it’s all about performing tomorrow night and really going for it, that’s the idea.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.