Eddie Howe will discuss Newcastle United’s January transfer plans once the Premier League season pauses for the Qatar World Cup. The Magpies play Southampton, Crystal Palace and Chelsea before the five-and-a-half-week break.
The arrivals of Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Matt Targett and Dan Burn last winter helped United surge away from relegation danger and secure their top-flight status. In the summer, the club further bolstered its ranks with the signing of Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak.
Newcastle’s £210million spending on new players since the owners arrived last October has propelled Howe’s side from bottom of the table and into early European contention after taking 24 points from the opening 13 matches.
Strengthening the squad again in January could be viewed as an opportunity for United to cement their place in the top seven, however Howe insists discussions on that will wait until later this month.
What are Newcastle’s plans for January?
“I’m not trying to dodge your question but I will because we haven’t had discussions on January yet,” Howe said. “We haven’t had internal discussions in terms of finances and how we look in the market. That’ll be a question for another day. At the moment, our focus is on the three games next week. During the break, we’ll look to January to see what our options are.”
Not only have Newcastle signed good players, but good characters too. Howe has a really close-knit dressing room and the 44-year-old is wary of upsetting the dynamic. He said: "The biggest danger we have is if you bring someone in that doesn’t have that team ethic then you can unbalance the changing room and the feeling and the spirit. I desperately don’t want to do that.
“I want to enhance that in every window, not destroy it. You have got to be very careful in that respect but, hopefully, every decision we make, we can try and make with the best interest of the team."
‘I don’t feel we have bought the success we’re currently having’ - Howe
Further spending will likely lead to short-sighted criticism from the outside that Newcastle have spent their way to the top. However, those close in and around Tyneside know fine well the incredible progress is largely down to player improvement. Indeed, six of the 11 players who started the 4-0 win over Aston Villa were at the club pre-takeover.
Howe said: “We’re not looking for any validation, we’re just doing the job to the best of our ability. I love coaching players and trying to improve them. From day one here, I sensed a really open group who wanted that work. I don’t feel we have bought the success we’re currently having. It has come from hard work and brilliant performances from the players. We’re just doing the best we can, day to day.”