What Eddie Howe has said on Newcastle United transfers as club prepare €30m Goncalo Ramos bid
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In three weeks time, the summer transfer window will slam shut for all Premier League clubs.
Newcastle have made three senior signings so far in Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Sven Botman but have been linked with countless more players as Howe looks to bolster his attacking line.
A serious injury to Jonjo Shelvey may also force a re-think in terms of United pursuing midfield targets.
"My squad is an excellent squad of players, I love the individuals we have, and I’d love to add some quality to it,” Howe said following Saturday's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Some players have been speculatively linked while others – such as Hugo Ekitike – the club have openly pursued but were unable to sign.
Howe admitted: “It’s the circumstances around it where we’ve missed out on a couple of players because they wanted to go elsewhere.
"That’s the delicate thing. There’s a whole host of things that have to drop for you. It’s an ever-moving thing, it’s always changing. I’m very confident we can do what we need to make the squad as strong as possible.”
The latest player to be strongly linked with a move to Tyneside is Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos.
The Magpies have been monitoring the 21-year-old for some time and were able to take a closer look at him in pre-season as they faced Benfica at Estadio da Luz.
Ramos opened the scoring in the match with a close range header as Benfica went on to win 3-2 in the Eusebio Cup friendly.
Satisfied that the player would improve their attack, Newcastle are now understood to be preparing an official bid for Ramos, who is also being monitored by Paris Saint-Germian.
Despite Benfica already losing talisman Darwin Nunez to Liverpool this summer and Ramos scoring a hat-trick in Benfica’s Champions League third qualifying round win over Midtjylland earlier this month, manager Roger Schmidt would consider selling player for the right price in order to fund further additions to his squad.
But As Aguias will not accept anything less than €30million (roughly £25.3million) plus add-ons for the player.
And Howe has previously admitted to considering players from the Portuguese League this summer.
“I think [Primeira Liga] is a very strong, and good, league,” said the Newcastle head coach. “Of course, we’re looking in every league to try to find the best players for Newcastle.
“So I wouldn’t say no [to signing a player from Portugal].”
Howe has also made no secret of his desire to sign an attacking player to provide another option to Callum Wilson and Chris Wood up front.
“We would like to add there [in the attacking positions],” he said. “It’s no secret we’ve been looking at a couple of attackers who could make a difference, players with different profiles.
“We’re still looking for one or two players that can make a difference for us. We won’t stop.”
On Newcastle’s current striker situation, Howe added: “We’re in a position where any player gets injured – and it stretches us, we have players who can cover.
"Maxi [Allan Saint-Maximin], Joelinton, [Jacob] Murphy have played that role. Yes, it would be a concern for an injury in that area.
“We’re working hard to try and add to the group. We are active in the market, and we’ll wait and see if we can add players before the window shuts.”
Since landing a top target in Sven Botman at the end of June, the past six weeks of Newcastle’s transfer window have been largely frustrating.
The Ekitike saga finally ended with the player opting to join PSG after Newcastle had tabled an offer for the young forward and they have been looking at potential alternatives ever since.
Chelsea’s Armando Broja is a player who is liked by Newcastle as a potential loan option. But the 20-year-old is reluctant to leave on loan again having spent last season at Southampton.
The Magpies have also sounded out Chelsea regarding the potential loan availability of Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi this summer.
“The structure of the transfer doesn’t matter to me,” Howe admitted. “It’s about the individual.
"Matt Targett came in as a loan player, but committed to everything and felt like a Newcastle player from day one.
"Another individual’s character might be different, and you get the feeling they’re just here for a set time – and will then move on.
"I’d be reluctant to do those types of transfers, so it’s all about the person – and them committing to the club and team.
“It’s a feel you get from speaking to them and the agent. You’ll sense the commitment from the player very early. If you’re going to sign a player, they have to be committed to your club.”
Loan signings may also prove useful to Newcastle in helping circumvent the limitations of Financial Fair Play.
Although United have significant financial resources, the club are deliberately limiting their spending in order to guarantee a steady, sustained growth of the squad without the risk of penalisation.
"Financial Fair Play impacts us – and will continue to impact us, I think, for a number of years,” Howe previously revealed. “We haven't got the free rein, the free hand, that maybe has been perceived within the media, that we can go and sign who we want and pay extortionate fees and wages.
“We're not in that position – and I don't think we will be for some period of time. We're having to be creative and smart, and try and make the right additions within the financial constraints that we have.”
While Newcastle’s remaining budget is limited, there is still room for at least one more major signing before the transfer window closes – so an official bid in excess of €30million for Ramos is certainly plausible.