Eddie Howe’s surprise Newcastle United transfer admission as Brighton draw reinforces priority

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe admits he will be relieved to see the transfer window end but insists the club are actively pursuing targets.

Newcastle’s transfer business has effectively ground to a halt after a fruitful opening month of the window saw the arrivals of Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Sven Botman.

Attacking reinforcements were the priority before the window opened in June and are still yet to be addressed two games into the Premier League season.

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With less than three weeks left in the transfer window, no new signings are imminent for United but key personnel at the club remain confident of securing at least one more top level signing before the window slams shut on September 1.

Eddie Howe, Manager of Newcastle United, applauds fans after the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United at American Express Community Stadium on August 13, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Saturday’s goalless draw at Brighton saw Newcastle register just one shot on target and further reinforced the need for improved options in attack.

While Howe wants to sign a forward player in the coming weeks, he is also desperate to maintain the balance and harmony within the squad.

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“As I’ve said many times, we’re looking [to sign players],” said the Newcastle head coach. “We are aware that there are certain parts of the squad that we’d love to strengthen and give us more options.

“But that’s no reflection of anybody we currently have in our squad because I think we’ve shown that we love everybody within the group. There’s a very good feeling internally, within the dynamic of the team, so we desperately don’t want to harm that either.”

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Newcastle have looked at and been linked with countless players over the summer so far and will likely be linked with several more over the next few weeks.

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Newcastle’s interest in the likes of Leeds United’s Jack Harrison and Leicester City’s James Maddison has cooled after seeing bids rejected.

Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos has emerged as a top attacking target to help bolster The Magpies’ striking options alongside Callum Wilson and Chris Wood.

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But Howe feels the clarity of managing a side outside of a transfer window brings a sense of clarity and relief to proceedings.

“I think there’s always that part of you that, as much as you’re frustrated that you can’t sign any more players when they window has closed, there’s actually a nice relief when the window shuts and you can say, ‘right, that’s the group that we have – and that’s the group we’re going to go forward with’,” he added.

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“Nothing can change that then. My focus is always on the players we have inside the building, not externally. That’s always been my first instinct, to try to develop them, even when the window is open.

“But a lot of your time is taken up with the window because it’s such an important process as you try to get the right players in. It’s an ever-changing thing, so if you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of time watching players that maybe aren’t attainable, or for lots of different reasons that you can’t get.

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"That’s part of the job though, and it goes with it hand in hand.”