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Eddie Howe discusses Newcastle United's transfer plans, prospect of selling star players

Howe discusses Newcastle's transfer plans, prospect of selling star players
© Reuters
Eddie Howe believes that Newcastle United would have already made signings in the January transfer window if they were not working with the constraints of Financial Fair Play.

Eddie Howe believes that Newcastle United would have already made signings in the January transfer window if they were not working with the constraints of Financial Fair Play (FFP).

The Magpies have been hampered with injuries throughout this season, with midfielder Joelinton the latest to enter the treatment room after being ruled out for a minimum of six weeks with a thigh problem.

Howe has previously stated that the club would look to delve into the transfer market to fill the voids left behind by several first-team players in his squad, but that task has been made all the more difficult due to the club's financial predicament and the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

On Thursday, Newcastle, who were taken over by the Saudi Public Investment Fund in October 2021, announced pre-tax losses of £73m for the financial year ending June 30, 2023, "driven mostly by the continued investment in the playing squad".

Newcastle CEO Darren Eales has admitted that the club may be required to sell some of their star players if they wish to balance their books and consistently break into the top six of the Premier League.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak during the warm up before the match on May 13, 2023© Reuters

The likes of Alexander Isak, Bruno Guimaraes and Sven Botman have been linked with possible exits from St James' Park, and when Eales was directly asked about whether the trio could be sold, he said: "On any player, at any time, it depends on circumstances. It's difficult to hypothesis but, if we're offered £1bn for one of those players, then no-one could argue against that making sense.

"Any decision we make will always be against the backdrop of the medium to long-term benefit for the club. It's difficult to say specifically on certain players, but I can say that, if we're going to get to where we want to get to, at times it is necessary to trade your players.

"Whether that is because of the contract length of the player in question, the offer is too good to refuse, you need to reload in certain areas, but all of this could make sense to trade that player. It is counter-intuitive and part of the inherent system of PSR that there is an incentive to trade your players if you want to re-invest, by the nature of the boundaries."

Howe has since responded to Eales's comments, acknowledging that FFP restrictions are a "frustration for everyone connected" with the club, and has insisted that selling players is "part of every club's DNA" to ensure that they avoid breaching any financial rules.

"In an ideal world, given the freedom to act we would have brought players in already," Howe said at a press conference on Friday, as quoted by Sky Sports News, ahead of Newcastle's Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday.

"But we're not in that situation - as Darren [Eales, Newcastle CEO] alluded to on Thursday, Financial Fair Play is a problem for us, and we're having to navigate round that.

"That's the position we're in. When does it become a problem? It's already one, but we're trying to manage through it."

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe pictured on November 25, 2023© Reuters

"[FFP] is a frustration for everyone connected with us," Howe added. "Certainly the owners are very ambitious, and they would like to help and improve the squad in any way they can.

"The rules and conditions we're working under don't allow that. That's just how it is, we're acting in the way we can.

"There's no surprises for me. We've been working under FFP restrictions for some time. I don't know if he said selling a star player, those might be words the media have attached. Selling players is part of every club's DNA now, they have to within FFP rules.

"To sign players, we may have to sell players - that doesn't necessarily mean star players, whatever's meant by that term. But certainly, selling players is something this club will do for the foreseeable future."

Asked about potential incomings in January, Howe said: "We aren't shutting the door on everything. But as I sit here right now, no, we are not going to bring anyone in. But that may change as the window continues.

"I will continue to push for improvements, but I need to consider the long term health of the club too. But the squad needs short-term help."

Meanwhile, Howe has denied reports claiming that Newcastle have made an enquiry for Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke, who was named the Premier League's Player of the Month for December.

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