Eddie Howe signed a new long-term contract at St James’ Park on Friday but warned Newcastle fans that financial fair play regulations would prevent him from spending heavily in the transfer market for some years to come.
Despite the vast wealth of their new Saudi Arabian owners, Newcastle have still to develop the commercial revenue streams which would enable them to invest significantly in players while remaining within the rules.
“Financial fair play impacts us and will continue to impact us, I think, for a number of years,” said Newcastle’s manager whose side host promoted Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon. “We haven’t got the free rein, the free hand, that maybe has been perceived within the media.”
Newcastle’s manager seemed happy to seize an opportunity to advise clubs and agents looking to sell players not to hold his board to ransom. “We can’t go out and sign who we want and pay extortionate fees and wages,” he said. “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 we have.”
Nonetheless the 44-year-old was delighted to extend and improve the terms of the two-and-a-half year deal he signed on succeeding Steve Bruce last November. At the time Newcastle had not won a game but Howe led them to 11th, 14 points clear of the relegation zone. “It’s a great feeling to commit my future to this incredible club,” he said. “I’m extremely proud to be head coach of Newcastle United and I’ve enjoyed every moment here. I’m very excited about the future.”
This summer Newcastle have signed Sven Botman, a highly regarded 22-year-old centre-half on the verge of breaking into the Netherlands side, for £35m from Lille, the England goalkeeper Nick Pope from Burnley for £10m and have paid £15m to turn the left-back Matt Targett’s loan from Aston Villa into a longer-term deal.
Howe though has made no secret of wanting an extra striker and a midfielder. “We’re working hard, we’re active in the market and we’ll wait and see if we can get the players we want before the window shuts,” he said. “We’ve missed out on a couple of players because they wanted to go elsewhere but there’s no frustration within the club and I’m hopeful we can make the squad as strong as possible.”
He is pursuing the Leicester midfielder James Maddison and agreed the acquisition of another forward was particularly important. “We’re in a position where any player in that area gets injured, it stretches us,” said Howe, whose first-choice centre-forward, Callum Wilson, has proved injury-prone in recent seasons. “An injury in that area would be a concern.”