Newcastle United will enter this summer with Financial Fair Play (FFP) in mind as Eddie Howe moved to play down any high expectations from excited supporters.
In what is perhaps an unpopular yet realistic view from Howe, the Magpies head coach warned the upcoming transfer window will be about “evolution”, not “revolution” to stay within financial rules.
Much has been made about the club’s Saudi Arabian-backed owners and their huge wealth. And while the squad will be strengthened this summer, Howe admits it may not be the splurge some are anticipating.
FFP is one reason. The other is Howe does not believe a summer overhaul as such is the correct way forward, instead favouring a slow build as United look to one day challenge for the Premier League and Champions League titles.
Asked about a potential “reduced” or not so “lavish” budget, Howe admitted: “There’s an element of truth in that.
“With Financial Fair Play, we have restraints and we have things that we have to work within, so we can’t just go out and spend money on players like maybe teams could have done in the past and totally change their squad within one transfer window.
“That is not an option for us. The more money you spend in one window, the more it impacts your ability to then spend in windows beyond.
“The rules are there to govern the game properly and we have to follow suit, so that does impact what we can do this summer.
“But it doesn’t mean that we’re totally without ambition. We want to try to bring the right players in, ones that are proud to wear the shirt and that can make a difference.
“We’re well aware that we have to change the squad and we have to make improvements, but it’s going to be a difficult balance."
Does Howe believe his hard truth will “let down” supporters?
The 45-year-old said: “No not from the vision that was sold to them because the club will get there. I am a believer in that the club will get where it wants to be. The time it takes to get there, I think that is something no one can predict.
“In terms of a massive spend there are rules in place to stop that, it is all linked to boundaries we have to work towards. We will do our best to produce a better team.
“I’m always a firm believer that you don’t want to make too many changes. Too many incomings can have a negative effect on the group. Those numbers were right for January and that was what the team needed.
“It wasn’t too many where we lost our feel. The feel was enhanced by the players we brought it. Their attitudes and mentality was very good and instantly you felt the uplift from those players.
“That’s not always the case when you sign new players. The balance can be rocked. I have to be mindful of that this summer.
“That is a good line, evolution not revolution. I’ve adopted it and I continue to use it.”
Newcastle spent around £90million in January on four permanent signings - Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes and Dan Burn.