Eddie Howe’s verdict on West Ham’s £120m transfer spend — singles out ex-Newcastle United target

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Newcastle United face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Eddie Howe has praised West Ham United’s summer transfer business in light of losing star man Declan Rice to Arsenal.

The Hammers sold Rice to their London rivals for a British record £105million before spending around £120m on new recruits. David Moyes has bolstered his midfield with the arrivals of James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, and both Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus from Ajax while adding Konstantinos Mavropanos to his defence.

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West Ham have made a solid start to the new Premier League season by sitting in eighth, one point and one position above Newcastle United. Two sides meeting at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 8pm).

Speaking ahead of the game, Howe said: “They lost Declan Rice who was so important for them. He was the heartbeat of the team and gave them real stability in the middle of the pitch but I think they’ve replaced him really well.

“It’s always a challenge when you get a big fee for a player and what you do with that money but they’ve been very smart. The players that have come in have settled immediately and they’ve done really well this season. They’ve had some really tough fixtures as well so the start has been really impressive.”

Howe went on to single out Ward-Prowse and the ability he possesses from set pieces. The Magpies were linked with the 28-year-old before he moved to the capital in a deal worth £30m.

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The 45-year-old continued: “They’re an obvious threat from set-plays with James Ward Prowse’s delivery and everything that he brings so that’s why, for us, it’s a case of refocussing and not being too distracted or affected anyway by the performance on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a mental challenge again for us, much like it was for us after the Milan game to Sheffield United. The players dealt with that week really well and this is another test for us.”

While Howe acknowledged West Ham’s threat, he is aware that his side is also in good form. Newcastle extended their unbeaten run to six matches on Wednesday with a memorable 4-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

“We know it’s going to be a really difficult game but we’ve got to get our psychology right for the match,” said Howe. “If you don’t get the psychology right going into any game, the games are difficult enough but especially West Ham away and everything that game brings.

“We know that we can’t underestimate any team, any challenge, wherever we go. It’s just about being present and making sure we deliver what we need to deliver.”

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