The Newcastle United transfer admissions made by key personnel including Dan Ashworth & Amanda Staveley
Where will the Magpies turn next during a hectic summer transfer window?
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Emotions are running wild for Newcastle United supporters as events on and off the pitch continue to excite the St James Park faithful this summer.
Eddie Howe’s side got their Premier League season off to an impressive start on Saturday as Callum Wilson and Fabian Schar scored in their 2-0 home win against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest.
Away from the on-field action, key appointments have been made and influential figures around the club are working around the clock in their attempts to strengthen Howe’s ranks during the summer transfer window.
Hopes were raised that the Magpies could make a big impact in the window following the appointment of Dan Ashworth as the club’s new sporting director earlier this summer.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion technical director wasted little time in getting to work as he played a part in securing the signings of Sven Botman, Matt Targett and Nick Pope within weeks of his arrival on Tyneside.
Several players have left during that time with Isaac Hayden, Ciaran Clark and Jeff Hendrick all securing season-long loan moves to Championship clubs and Dwight Gayle heading to Stoke City on a permanent deal.
Highly-rated midfielder Elliot Anderson was expected to follow the quartet into the second-tier as United look to continue the undoubted development he made during a loan spell at Bristol Rovers during the second half of last season.
But the hamstring injury suffered by Jonjo Shelvey in the recent friendly defeat at Benfica has reportedly changed the Magpies hierarchy’s view on the youngster’s immediate future and he now looks set to remain on Tyneside.
With the closure of the transfer window now just over three weeks away, United are expected to conduct incoming and outgoing business as they look to strengthen Eddie Howe’s squad in a bid to build on the progress made last season.
Ashworth has already warned any action taken at any level of the club will have view to the short-term and long-term progress at St James Park.
Following his appointment as the Magpies sporting director in June, Ashworth said: “We are about to start a transfer window so of course there are a lot of things on the to-do list there, with players in, and players out and players moving around… some of the things Eddie wants to do for the first team squad.
“Short term it is trying to drive the transfer window for the next three months.
“I am part of an important team. We are here to help the club become better, more successful, more established in the Premier League, and hopefully go on and have higher ambitions in leagues and cups. I also have to understand the culture of the club and where everyone fits.
“What is going well and where are the gaps.”
Frustration seems to be the key word for Newcastle’s attempts to secure a fourth senior summer signing.
Over a month has passed since the deal to bring Lille defender Botman to Tyneside was completed - but the club’s recruitment department has been a hive of activity in the time that has passed.
A prolonged effort to sign Reims forward Hugo Ekitike came to an unsuccessful conclusion as the France Under-21 star joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan and another high-profile target seems to have slipped away after Moussa Diaby signalled his intent to remain at Bayer Leverkusen.
Interest in RB Salzburg’s highly-rated forward Benjamin Sesko is also being shelved after he reportedly agreed to join Bundesliga club RB Leipzig next summer.
Adding to Eddie Howe’s attacking ranks is the clear priority for the Magpies and a decision over submitting a third bid for Leicester City star James Maddison is currently being discussed.
The Foxes attacking midfielder is far from the only player under consideration with Watford forward Ismaila Sarr and Chelsea duo Callum Hudson-Odoi and Armando Broja all said to be on the Magpies wanted list.
Work is currently ongoing at all levels at United and Howe admitted he was keen to ‘add some more quality’ to his squad in the aftermath of Saturday’s season-opening win against Forest.
The Magpies boss said: “I’m not aware that anything has changed on that front, and I don’t anticipate that to be the case because everyone has been concentrating on the games, and rightly so.
“I don’t think today changes anything from my view. My squad is an excellent squad of players.
“I love the individuals we have, but I’d like to add some more quality to that if possible.”
The mood around Tyneside is a stark contrast to the doom and gloom that enveloped the area 12 months ago.
An underwhelming summer transfer window saw former loan star Joe Willock become the only addition to Steve Bruce’s squad as former owner Mike Ashley continued his attempts to the PIF-led consortium.
Joyous scenes met Ashley’s departure when the takeover was officially completed in October and the new owners backed newly-installed manager Howe during the January transfer window.
The arrival of Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Matt Targett, Dan Burn and Matt Targett helped the Magpies produce a stunning performance over the second half of the season as they alleviated their relegation concerns to secure a mid-table finish.
With thoughts rapidly turning towards a second successive window of progression and a brighter future at St James Park, co-owner Amanda Staveley has already delivered a word of caution for everyone with the club at heart.
Speaking in the days following the takeover, she said: “It’s imperative that we continue to be patient and considered in our approach.
“Change does not always happen overnight, it demands time and that we follow a carefully considered plan and strategy.”
Staveley expanded on her ambitions for the club as she spoke at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit earlier this year.
“Mike (Ashley) was very honest with the fans he said he didn’t have deep enough pockets to invest,” she explained.
“Neither have Mehrdad and I. Thank god we have incredibly wealthy investors alongside us like PIF and the Reuben family, Jamie Reuben.
“He had taken the view he was ready to sell, we arrived and the business model is to build this club into a huge global business, a huge global brand and we want to be the best at football and challenging for trophies.”
The rebuild is well underway, and although patience is required over the coming weeks and months, a more progressive football club is under development at St James Park.