'Outstanding' - Newcastle United boss confirms admiration for £47m trio - two set for St James' Park visit

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Newcastle United transfers: Eddie Howe has confirmed his admiration for AFC Bournemouth trio Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Lloyd Kelly.

Newcastle United have been linked with transfer moves for a few AFC Bournemouth players Eddie Howe knows well.

Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Lloyd Kelly were all signed for Bournemouth by Howe for a combined £47million. All three players have gone on to establish themselves in the Premier League.

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Newcastle have been credited with an interest in all three players with Billing and Kelly in particular potentially available for cut-price deals this summer. Kelly is out of contract and could be available on a free transfer while Billing is reportedly available for just £15million.

And as Newcastle prepare to host Bournemouth in the Premier League at St James' Park this Saturday (3pm kick-off), Solanke and Kelly are likely to line-up for Andoni Iraola's side while Billing misses the match due to suspension.

Addressing the links, Howe confirmed his admiration for the players but cast doubt over potential moves by questioning whether they'd be the right fit for his side.

"I have to be careful with my answer because we are playing them," Howe said. "They are players I admire because I signed them previously. I think they are outstanding players - whether they are a fit for Newcastle is another matter."

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Philip Billing at AFC Bournemouth. Philip Billing at AFC Bournemouth.
Philip Billing at AFC Bournemouth.

Solanke in particular has impressed for The Cherries this season. The striker initially struggled under Howe but has flourished this campaign with his 13 Premier League goals only bettered by Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah so far this campaign.

"I'm pleased for him on an individual level because he had a tough start to his career at Bournemouth and had to be patient before he got his opportunities," Howe said on Solanke. "There was never any doubting his qualities and his talent so it's no surprise to me that he's doing so well and he's right up there in terms of the leading goalscorer charts this season and has every chance of representing his country in the summer as well."

And with Newcastle striker Callum Wilson ruled out until the back end of the season, Solanke's chances of making England's Euro 2024 squad have been boosted.

"I think Callum’s injury has a part in Dominic’s view for England," Howe added. “I think he can play international football or sure. I’ve watched him this year and he’s impressed me every time I’ve seen him.”

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