Eddie Howe did not shy away from the idea that Newcastle United would look to make a “marquee signing” when discussing his side’s potential summer transfer business.
“Yeah, there would be players we’d love to bring in that would be classified in that bracket, I’m sure,” Howe said on Friday morning.
“For me, it’s more about the role they can fulfil in the team, whether that’s viewed positively or as a marquee signing, then great. I’m not in my mind thinking, ‘we have to have one of those players that ticks that box for the supporters’. As much as I’d love to do that, it’s about finding the right player in the right position who I think makes us better.”
Newcastle travel to Chelsea on Sunday having qualified for the Champions League next season, an achievement that will have lucrative implications for Newcastle’s summer recruitment. Howe’s squad, though, will be fighting on four fronts — he emphasised the club will try to compete in the domestic cups again after the League Cup final this season.
Howe said he is “torn” on whether new signing would need to have had Champions League experience — “You don’t have to have played in a competition to be able to play in a competition” – and he also knows players with Champions League experience usually are expensive.
“Unfortunately players don’t come cheap, especially good players,” Howe said. “Yes, we are going to have to spend a certain amount of money. How much that is, I don’t know. I still don’t know what my budget is at this moment in time but there will have to be some expenditure. It will have to be controlled. It will have to be under FFP restrictions which we have worked under and will continue to work under. They are definitely impacting us and what we will be able to do.
“I’ve got a clear vision in my head of what we need. It’s important we also work in a discreet way. There are areas of the squad that aren’t strong enough in terms of depth. I’d love to try and improve the team as well before we kick off next year because, as I’ve said, the competition is going to get harder. But I don’t want to break up the core fabric of what we have got either. It’s very delicate but we need to be stronger.”
Newcastle have spent approximately £250million on transfers since their takeover and they have recruited smartly. Sunday’s opponents, Chelsea, offer a warning as to the hazards of marquee buying, with the London club languishing in 13th having spent £585.5million on new players this season.