Eddie Howe has promised the Newcastle hierarchy will not ignore their role as “guardians of the club’s future” as they attempt to negotiate a path through a transfer window minefield.
The big-spending Magpies have found themselves thrust into the limelight in recent weeks amid speculation that one of their biggest names could be sold as they juggle the restrictions imposed by profit and sustainability and financial fair play rules with their desire to strengthen their squad.
More than £400million has been spent on transfers since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took charge at St James’ Park in October 2021 and, with the club having reported losses in excess of £70million for each of the two most recent financial years, chief executive Darren Eales has admitted that even their biggest names have their price.
However, asked what would be his desired scenario for the remaining few days of what has proved a difficult January window, head coach Howe said: “Keeping the squad intact and, as the manager, trying to produce a team to win games would be the one for me.
“But we are guardians of the club’s future and we want to make the right decisions for the club’s future and for FFP. We don’t want to breach FFP.
“That is where I will support the decisions that are made for the long term and that will benefit the club.”
Newcastle’s search for reinforcements, which has increased in urgency as a result of summer signing Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban for breaching betting regulations and a lengthy injury list to which star midfielder Joelinton has been added in the last week, is ongoing but appears to be going nowhere fast.
Howe twice insisted the club had made no approach for Aston Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey ahead of Tuesday night’s Premier League trip to Villa Park, and was downbeat when asked if fans should prepare themselves for no January signings.
He said: “(The prospect of) no new arrivals increases with every passing hour because the deadline looms.
“Probably what we won’t do is bringing a player in without losing a player the other way, I think that’s impossible.”
By the same token, Howe remains adamant that he wants to keep Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron, all of whom were linked with moves away from St James’ Park last week, as well as Jamaal Lascelles and Bruno Guimaraes, the subjects of further speculation over the weekend.
In the meantime, he will concentrate on the task of trying to end a four-game league losing streak against a Villa side rapidly establishing themselves as this season’s potential top-four gatecrashers.
Unai Emery’s men were trounced 5-1 on Tyneside in the opening game of the season, but much water has passed under the bridge since.
Howe said: “It was a very difficult team to pick, I remember that because there was a lot of strength in depth.
“But I think that showed out qualities and we still have that quality within the squad, so nothing has changed, it’s just the fact that obviously we are missing some of the players who performed that day. But that shows what we’re capable of.”