Premier League loophole allows Newcastle United to make a shock signing after £57m decision

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Newcastle United transfers: The transfer window may be closed, but it is still possible for Premier League clubs to do business.

Newcastle United are heading into the final months of the season with a depleted squad.

Callum Wilson has been ruled out to the back end of the season following surgery on a chest injury. Joelinton is also facing a number of months out and may not play again this season.

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Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali is also banned from playing until August. As a result, The Magpies left him out of their 25 man squad for the second half of the season.

While Newcastle didn't make a single senior signing during the winter transfer window, they did offload right-back Javier Manquillo to Celta Vigo. Tonali's ban and Manquillo's departure leaves Newcastle with two free spaces in their 25 man squad.

The free spaces allow Newcastle to sign and register free agents to be eligible to play for them in the Premier League this season. While Newcastle signing a free agent is unlikely, Premier League rules state that changes to a squad list can be made 'during the period of a Transfer Window; or at other times only with the permission of the Board.'

Premier League clubs are able to register players, including free agent signings, until the fourth Thursday in March (March 28). And as long as there are free spaces in a club's 25 man squad, as is the case with Newcastle, any squad changes would likely be accepted by the Premier League's board.

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Eddie Howe joked he would be open to signing free agents in his pre-match press conference last week, stating: " "If you can give me some names!"

But free agents are ultimately free agents for a reason and there aren't too many attractive options to choose from at the moment. Up front, former Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle has recently been released by Stoke City while former Bournemouth forward Lys Mousset is also available and has previously worked under Howe.

Former Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi is one of a few other notable players without a club who have prior Premier League experience. The most high-profile free agent is goalkeeper David De Gea, who has previously been linked with a move to Newcastle. But Newcastle will be hoping their ongoing injury issues eventually clear up and they will not need to dip into the free agent market.