Newcastle United are working hard on bringing in players in January, but manager Eddie Howe admits that Financial Fair Play rules may deny them a chance to land their top targets – which include Leicester City’s James Maddison.
90min understands that Maddison, currently with England at the World Cup finals, is their top target and they are looking into the finances of doing a deal early in the New Year.
However, knowing it will likely take a deal worth around £50m to land Maddison, Newcastle are not sure they will be able to do the deal in January and could have to wait until the summer to land him.
Howe is desperate to capitalise on Newcastle’s brilliant start to the season which saw them get to the World Cup break in third place in the Premier League and suddenly hopes are that they will now return to European competition for the first time since qualifying for the Europa League in 2012.
Howe will meet with Newcastle’s co-owners Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben, as well as sporting director Dan Ashworth in Riyadh this week, as the club undergo warm weather training in Saudi Arabia – the home of PIF, the club’s majority shareholders.
Howe is hoping to hear that they will be looking to add to their squad in next month’s transfer window, but he knows that their spending in the summer – they spent nearly £100m on Sven Botman and Alexander Isak alone- means the January budget could be limited.
“My way to take the team to new heights is to improve through the training of the players we have. If we can’t get to a certain level, then we need to find that in the transfer market,” Howe stated at a media conference.
“In my position, you are keen to sign the best players you can – but those players come at a premium. [Sven] Botman wasn’t cheap, Alex Isak wasn’t cheap. Those are players who can influence the starting XI.
“Do we have the finances for that? I do not know. That might impact our options. It is a considerable outlay the club have to find and with FFP, I’m not sure that’s available to us. You have to work within the guidelines of the club.”
Despite Howe’s hesitance, sources have told 90min that, in addition to Maddison being top priority, they are also keen on a new wide forward. Leandro Trossard, Marcus Thuram, Christian Pulisic, Moussa Diaby and Mykhaylo Mudryk are all players they have looked at in the last six months.
The Magpies are also seeking to bolster their midfield ranks and have spoken to Brazilian club Vasco De Gama about their young starlet Andrey Santos.
A young right-back to push Kieran Trippier is something they are also working on with West Ham’s Harrison Ashby again on their radar along with Leeds’ Cody Drameh.
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Newcastle could bolster their chances of bringing players in with possible sales, and 90min understands that the likes of Chris Wood, Jamal Lascelles, Ryan Fraser, Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lewis could be made available. That may help raise funds and free up space for incoming deals.
The club’s current success will also see them finalising new deals for their existing top performers. One of those in line for a wage rise early in the New Year is star midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is set to become the club’s highest earner if and when he puts pen to paper on an improved contract.
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