Premier League set to block transfer involving £47m star Newcastle United 'liked'

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Newcastle United could be blocked from signing a player like Ruben Neves on loan in January.

Eddie Howe has revealed he "liked" Ruben Neves during his time at Wolves but refused to be drawn on a potential Premier League rule change that would stop Newcastle United from signing the midfielder on loan in January.

Later this month, English top-flight clubs will vote on a temporary ban involving loan signings between clubs with the same owners. It's likely the proposal, which requires 14 of the 20 teams to vote in favour, will be passed.

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In short, it would block the Magpies from signing Neves and other players on loan from the Saudi Pro League. Newcastle's owners the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia own a stake in Al Hilal, who Neves joined from Wolves for £47million in the summer, Al Ahli, Al Nassr and Al Ittihad.

Al Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)Al Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)
Al Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

Neves is understood to be on a long list of players Newcastle are considering after losing Sandro Tonali until August 2024. The £52m summer signing is serving a 10-month ban because of illegal betting activity.

Asked about Neves, Howe said: “It’s very difficult to talk about one individual player but of course, he is a player we liked when he was at Wolves.",

On the January transfer window, Howe added: "I'm open to signing players from anywhere if they're good enough and they make our team better.

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“Honestly, at the moment I don’t have any plans for January. It’s such a moving thing in the sense that we don’t have clearly identified targets. There are too many moving parts at this stage and a lot of football to be played.

"From our side, there are injuries that may return and injuries that may not return. It’s very difficult for us to have finalised those plans at this stage. A long-winded answer but no.”

Not just loan signings, but a second rule change could also impact Newcastle's ability to agree commercial deals with Saudi-linked companies.

United's £25m front-of-shirt sponsorship deal was subject to a 'fair market value' assessment by the Premier League. For further deals, it could be that the Magpies must prove multiple offers of the same value.

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“It’s difficult for me to give you chapter and verse because it’s not a situation I’m in any control over," said Howe. "I’m reacting to what is happening. It’s probably better that you draw conclusions to that, not me.

“I wouldn’t know the motives behind the rule changes coming in. It’s very difficult for me to give a definitive opinion, we just have to react to the changes as they come in.”

In the words of Amanda Staveley, is it because the Premier League doesn't like competition?

"It's difficult for me to answer, but we are here to compete on the pitch and all of these things we are discussing are off the pitch," Howe said. "That's why it is difficult for me to give you an answer that is clear and concise.

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"I'm not involved in those talks I just see and hear things in the media like you are. That's where I have to be careful and draw a line about what I can talk about. I'm not involved in that world, I'm involved in the football world. We want to compete on the pitch within the rules that are set for us."

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