NEWCASTLE UNITED are hoping to make another couple of additions before the transfer window closes – but Eddie Howe has admitted a new centre-forward is not a priority.

The Magpies completed their second senior signing of the summer yesterday when Harvey Barnes followed Sandro Tonali through the entrance door, with the former Leicester City midfielder making his first appearance in a Newcastle shirt in last night’s 3-3 draw with Aston Villa in Philadelphia. United have also signed Yankuba Minteh this summer, but the youngster was immediately sent to Feyenoord on loan.

The arrival of Barnes and Tonali significantly strengthens Newcastle’s midfield unit, with Barnes also comfortable in a wide-attacking role, but neither player enhances the Magpies’ options in the centre-forward role.

As things stand, Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak are the only natural ‘number nines’ in the Newcastle squad, although Anthony Gordon proved he can also play as a central forward as he impressed in the role during England’s successful outing at the European Under-21 Championships earlier this summer.

At the start of the window, there had been suggestions that Howe would look to strengthen in attack this summer, but with Newcastle working to an extremely tight budget because of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play rules, the Magpies head coach has conceded it is not unlikely that there will be transfer movement in the final third.

“When you look at our striking options, we obviously have two top players (Wilson and Isak) who are possibly competing for one position,” said Howe. “But it depends on what system we play. Then behind that, you have Anthony Gordon, who has played centrally, and he’s done it very well.

“With the price of front players so high, I don’t think that is an area we can go into with the budget we can go into this summer.”


Instead, Newcastle’s recruitment team are expected to focus the remainder of their attention this summer on trying to strengthen the defence, with the capture of a full-back and a centre-half the current priority.

Talks continue over Southampton full-back Tino Livramento, although there is mounting frustration at the way in which the Saints have been moving the financial goalposts over a possible deal. Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney also remains a target, although it now looks more likely that the Scotland international could remain at the Emirates this summer.

Alternative options are being considered, with Howe admitting it is still too early to judge the success of this summer’s transfer dealing.

“I don’t know if I can give it a mark yet,” he said. “Mark it at the end, not halfway through. I am really pleased with Sandro Tonali, he looks to be everything we hoped that he would be. But we know we have a few more positions that we need to strengthen if we can.”