Eddie Howe's three-word Newcastle United response to James Maddison transfer question

Eddie Howe has issued a brief response to reports of a Newcastle United bid for James Maddison.

The club has reportedly had a £40million bid for the attacking midfielder rejected by Leicester City. And Howe was asked if he could say anything about Newcastle’s interest in Maddison after this afternoon’s 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at St James’s Park.

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United’s head coach said: “Predictable answer, No.”

Asked if he was hopeful of signing a player before next weekend’s Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest, Howe said: “We’re trying. We’d love to add to the squad before Saturday’s game, but there’s no guarantee.”

Newcastle have signed three players – Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett – so far this summer at a cost of around £60million.

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Meanwhile, Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin were on target against Athletic.

The game followed a 1-0 win over Atalanta last night, and Howe said: “The last two games have been brilliant exercises for us. Two top teams, two different XIs, so a big test for our squad. Two games, and two positive results and performances.”

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe during the Athletic Bilbao game.

The two games allowed Howe to give the bulk of his players 90-minute run-outs.

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“The first half was good,” said Howe. “There were a lot of fluid attacks, and some good individual displays. It was a good collective display, and I thought we looked dangerous.

"In the second half, similar to yesterday, I thought we suffered when the changes were made. Their fresh legs were against our tired bodies, but that’s the beauty of the exercise of playing two games in two days.”