Newcastle United's 'active' transfer window is raising eyebrows
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The club, taken over late last year, has been active on several fronts since the final ball was kicked last season.
There have already been two arrivals – sporting director Dan Ashworth and defender Matt Targett – and there could be at least one more in the coming days as the club pursues deals for Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike.
There’s also been an outgoing – Isaac Hayden will spend next season on loan at Norwich City – and there will be more departures over the coming weeks. Eddie Howe, to this end, spoke to all of his players last month to brief them on his plans.
Howe is a manager who likes to get his signings in early, and the club is pushing to get as much business done as possible before the start of pre-season training on July 1.
The contrast to last season, when the club was still owned by Mike Ashley, couldn’t be greater.
Then-head coach Steve Bruce was left with a weaker, not stronger, squad following a summer which saw just one arrival, £25million midfielder Joe Willock.
The club’s entire summer budget was spent on the one-time loanee, and Bruce was left frustrated after the hierarchy wouldn’t sanction a late loan move for midfielder Hamza Choudhury.
That wasn’t a deal that would have excited fans, but supporters are excited about some of the names which have already been linked with the ambitious club, among them Lucas Paqueta.
However, Paqueta, a Brazil team-mate of January signing Bruno Guimaraes, isn’t a primary target for Howe, who is looking to strengthen other areas.
A striker is a priority, and the club has made another move for 19-year-old Ekitke, having failed with a move for him in January. Botman, meanwhile, would significantly strengthen Howe’s defensive options.
The club is also looking at the wide positions, and Howe is open to any deals which would see the squad strengthened as a whole. Howe has lists of potential targets for every position, not just those seen as areas that need strengthening this summer.
What is clear is that this is already a busy month – and the club has started as it means to go on.