Newcastle United's extraordinary transfer spend – and what it means for Eddie Howe
Amid the excitement of the past week or so, one thing has almost been forgotten.
And that’s that Newcastle United remain deep in relegation trouble.
The club’s transfer business has generated so much positivity and optimism, and those are two emotions that were never associated with January windows during Mike Ashley’s ownership, that it’s hard to believe we’re talking about a club which is 18th in the Premier League.
Newcastle have spent more than £80million on four signings and one loanee. Yes, more than £80million. Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Tripper, Dan Burn and Chris Wood have arrived on permanent deals, and Matt Targett has joined on loan.
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The club couldn’t get a deal done for Hugo Ekitike or Jesse Lingard, but the squad has still been significantly strengthened over the past few weeks – and that was the objective.
Head coach Eddie Howe, we know, wanted Premier League experience, and four of those signings have an abundance of that.
Guimaraes, a midfielder, hasn’t played in the English top flight, but arguably he’s the most exciting of all the signings given his undoubted talent and pedigree.
Yes, Lingard would have added something to Howe’s team in the final third of the pitch, but the club’s failure to sign an extra forward can’t take anything away from what has been a very good window for the club. You can’t have everything, and Howe must now work with what he has at the club.
United fans, of course, just aren’t used to this. January windows under Ashley were more often than not about a loan.
What supporters have seen this month is an ambitious club make some ambitious signings. It’s a glimpse into a brighter future – if the club can stay up.
It’s back to the other kind of business now, and the challenge for Howe is to quickly assimilate the latest arrivals into a team which has only won two games this season.
Next up are Everton at St James’s Park on February 8, and the fixture has taken on an added significance. A home win would drag them deeper into trouble, and, potentially, lift Newcastle out of the bottom three.
Newcastle’s new owners have done their bit by bankrolling the most ambitious January window in the club’s history. Now it’s over to you, Eddie.