Newcastle director lifts lid on January plans: ‘If the right player comes along… we will look at it’

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth in the stands during a match Credit: Alamy
Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth in the stands during a match Credit: Alamy

Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth has given an insight on the club’s transfer strategy with January signings a possibility.

The Magpies are currently third in the Premier League and Eddie Howe will know they have a great chance of finishing inside the European spots if they add one or two players this month.

A new midfielder and forward could get Howe’s side over the line and perhaps see them finish inside the top four.

Speaking prior to Newcastle’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at home to Leicester City, Ashworth was asked if the Magpies will be active in the January transfer window.

He said: “You get two opportunities a season to change your squad, in and out, and this is one of them.

“It would be remiss of us not to try and look at something and do something.

“We are clear about what would like to do in the summer. If the right player comes along – the right opportunity – of course we will look at it.

“The second part of the club’s strategy is looking at more emerging talent and younger players that sit outside of the 25-man squad.

“We have just signed Garang Kuol, for example, an 18-year-old, so we are always looking for those sort of players to add to the depth of talent we have at the club.

“We have got to give them [young transfer targets] the story and a plan about how they have got the possibility of playing on this great pitch for this great football club.

“We have to put something together that is going to be attractive to the player, and most of the time that’s about pathways. So it is about, ‘How can I get in your first team?’ and ‘What are you going to do to help me?’ if you are talking to a young player in order to achieve their potential and achieve their vision of being a Premier League footballer.

“Ultimately, it is not sustainable for us to keep going out and buying here-and-now players, we have to buy some potential and get some potential in the building.”

Ashworth continued: “It sells itself. It’s an incredible city, it’s an incredible football club.

“If you are starting to knock on the door for major trophies and competing for European places in the Premier League that helps you attract a top-level player.”

Discussing the Leicester match, Newcastle boss Howe told his players Tuesday’s encounter will be “different” to his side’s 3-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.

“We have to be more clinical,” Howe said three days after Newcastle’s FA Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. “If we look back at the Leeds game and on Saturday, there were too many chances not taken.

“This game will be different to Boxing Day. Brendan is a very good tactician and I thought the scoreline flattered us.”

The Newcastle head coach added: “The crowd here since day one have been incredible. This is a special night, the opportunity to get into a semi-final.

“These are the games we want. Hopefully we can entertain the fans and win.

“The power of the supporters here is huge. That hasn’t always been the case. We try to play a style of football they enjoy watching and will back.

“Sometimes when you lose, you feel that disappointment, it can serve as a good reminder that nothing is guaranteed.”

Howe was boosted by the availability of record signing Alexander Isak, who only managed 45 minutes in the 2-1 loss against Wednesday.

“He’s getting closer,” said Howe. “Hopefully Saturday will do him good and he’ll be involved. We want him fit and available as quickly as possible.

“I felt that 45 minutes was his maximum on Saturday.”

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