EDDIE HOWE has told Newcastle United’s owners to focus on tried-and-tested Premier League performers when they step up their planning for the January transfer window.

Having been struck down with Covid at the end of last week, Howe had to watch his side’s 3-3 draw with Brentford from his hotel room on Saturday afternoon. He saw his side produce an impressive attacking display, only for their defensive shortcomings to send them to the bottom of the Premier League table.

The need for reinforcements in January is obvious, but while Amanda Staveley and her advisors have been inundated with overseas-based agents trying to offload some of their players, Howe is mindful of the need to make immediate improvements in the second half of the season.

As a result, he wants to heavily prioritise the recruitment of players who have already proved themselves in the Premier League, even if their signing will represent something of a short-term fix rather than a longer-term rebuilding project.

Newcastle’s ownership group are set to target players who are entering the final six months of their current deal, as well as performers who are struggling to get a game for their current employers, and might therefore be willing to agree to a loan.

James Tarkowski falls into the former camp, and with Burnley boss Sean Dyche conceding that the Clarets have been unable to agree the terms of a new deal with the centre-half, Newcastle officials are reasonably confident of being able to pull off a January deal.

Jesse Lingard has been identified as another leading target, and while Manchester United’s managerial situation could improve the 28-year-old’s chances of getting regular football at Old Trafford, there were strong suggestions at the end of last week that the England international had decided to move on at the turn of the year. Newcastle will attempt to outbid the likes of Tottenham and West Ham in order to land him.

Liverpool forward Divock Origi is regarded as a potential loan option, while there has also been talk of an ambitious move for Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko if the Ukrainian continues to find himself unable to break back into Pep Guardiola’s first team.

Newcastle’s immediate priority is to improve their league position ahead of the reopening of the transfer window, but Howe’s positive Covid test means he will be unable to attend the training ground in person this week.

His assistant, Jason Tindall, has not given up hope of him being able to travel to the Emirates for Saturday’s game with Arsenal, but given that he did not appear to be displaying any symptoms prior to Friday’s test, that would appear to be unlikely.

“Hopefully, we can have Ed back before the Arsenal game,” said Tindall. “We’re just waiting on the doctor for that. That’s a little bit out of our hands and control. Ed will be a big influence on how we prepare.”