The big Newcastle United transfer question put to Eddie Howe – and his candid response

Eddie Howe’s candidly reflected on Newcastle United’s transfer business – after an “imperfect” window.
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The Carabao Cup finalists signed two players – Anthony Gordon and Harrison Ashby – last month, while Jonjo Shelvey and Chris Wood were allowed to join Nottingham Forest.

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Winger Gordon and right-back Ashby, signed from Everton and West Ham United respectively at a combined cost of around £48million, were introduced to fans before last night's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton at St James’s Park.

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Howe – who had hoped to sign a replacement for Shelvey in the final hours of the window – was asked for his view on the club’s transfer business after his team reached next month’s Wembley final following a 3-1 aggregate win.

“I think no window is perfect,” said United’s head coach. “I don’t think this window has been perfect for us, but that’s just the reality of the situation.

"I think we’ve signed two really talented young players. I’m really pleased with those signings.”

Howe was “disappointed” to lose Shelvey and Wood. Midfielder Shelvey’s permanent move to the City Ground was completed yesterday, while striker Wood joined the club on a loan with an obligation to buy earlier in the window.

Newcastle United signings Harrison Ashby and Anthony Gordon on the pitch last night.Newcastle United signings Harrison Ashby and Anthony Gordon on the pitch last night.
Newcastle United signings Harrison Ashby and Anthony Gordon on the pitch last night.
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And Howe conceded after the Southampton game that his squad is “light in a couple of areas” following their departures.

“We’re disappointed to lose Chris Wood and Jonjo Shelvey,” said Howe, who has lost midfielder Bruno Guimaraes to a three-game suspension.

"But you have to respect players’ wishes as well, and it’s not always about what the club wants. You have to look at things from a position of everybody’s needs and wants. So we may be slightly light in a couple of areas, but we do have a lot of quality in that squad.”

Meanwhile, Howe admitted that Newcastle “felt the pressure” in the second leg against Southampton.

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"It was an intense game,” said Howe. “At 2-0, we were playing really well – and their goal changed the dynamic. Part of our problem was the psychological aspect. Southampton had nothing to lose – and we were feeling the pressure.

"You want to be in finals of competitions to increase your status – and make yourself more desirable for people to join. This is a club on the up."