Subtle new Newcastle United transfer hint as Eddie Howe points to January dilemma

Eddie Howe’s dropped a new transfer hint at Newcastle United ahead of the opening of the January window.

Howe hopes to strengthen his squad next month, but the club is constrained in what can spend by football fair play rules following a £200million-plus spend in the past two windows as it seeks to increase commercial revenues.

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Asked how he wanted the squad to look by the end of the window, United’s head coach said: “Stronger, obviously. If we can, in any way, (get) a stronger squad than when we entered the month. What that looks like, I don’t know.”

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Howe – who has lost midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to an injury – admitted ahead of this afternoon’s home game against Leeds United that there may not be enough money available to sign a player capable of strengthening the starting XI.

Howe, though, has suggested one or more arrivals could strengthen the squad as a whole.

Newcastle’s position is in contrast to that a year ago, when the club was 19th in the Premier League.

The club signed five players – Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Chris Wood and Matt Targett – in January, but Howe and the club’s recruitment team will face a different challenge in the New Year.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe on Boxing Day.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe on Boxing Day.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe on Boxing Day.
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Newcastle, according to Howe, are also mindful that they will need to invest again next summer, and any January spend would further limit what can be invested in the subsequent transfer window.

"If you're looking to improve the team, the starting XI as it is if we have no injuries, then that’s a challenge in the market, currently,” said Howe. “Again, with an unlimited budget, that might be possible.

"With a, not that we necessarily have a budget at the moment, but with financial fair play looming, and with those restrictions, it's almost impossible.

"Then you're looking at the squad – and can you improve the squad? Now that's a different question.

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"Anything we do do in January then potentially harms us for the summer.

"So there is always another window coming up, and what you don't want to do is handcuff yourself for future windows. So there's a lot to consider."