THIS week’s Premier League vote on associated-party loan deals might have gone in Newcastle United’s favour, but Eddie Howe insists that does not mean the club will automatically be turning to Saudi Arabia to solve their ongoing injury crisis in January.

Tuesday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting saw a motion that would have outlawed loans between clubs with the same owners fail to attract the required support. As a result, Newcastle are able to loan players from the four leading clubs in Saudi Arabia that are majority owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund, which also owns 80 per cent of the Magpies.

Newcastle have been linked with a possible loan move for former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, and the club’s lengthy injury list means they could find themselves having to plug gaps in a number of different positions come the turn of the year.

However, while Howe admits there might be a need to be “reactive” in January, he remains keen to do all he can to avoid the need for a flurry of loan signings, which would fly in the face of the club’s preferred recruitment model, which is to target emerging youngsters who can play a major role in Newcastle’s long-term future.

“In general, I’m against making short-term decisions unless we absolutely have to,” said Howe, who currently has around a dozen senior players missing because of injury or long-term suspension. “Last January, we invested in Anthony Gordon, who we really believed could be a top talent here for many, many years.

“He was the right personality at that time to improve the squad. I think they’re the types of signings that we want to be making.

“Sat here now, though, I’ve no idea whether we’ll be in a position to do that. I really don’t know what will happen to be honest. It’s hard to make any kind of decision as I sit here now because the squad could look very different by January 1. The squad could look a lot stronger. I say ‘could’ because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks.”

Nevertheless, the fact that the PIF have been buying up some of the world’s leading players for the Saudi domestic league means Newcastle have ready access to a talent pool that could potentially enable them to complete January loan deals that would otherwise be beyond their capability because of Financial Fair Play regulations.


That seems to have been the catalyst for Tuesday’s vote, although the fact that 11 Premier League clubs are involved in multi-club ownership arrangements means Newcastle’s position is hardly unique.

The likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Brighton have long exchanged players with clubs that are part of their wider group, hence Howe’s assessment that this week’s focus on Newcastle’s potential transfer activity has been grossly unfair.

“People say it (the vote) was in Newcastle's favour, but it was a Premier League vote,” said the Magpies boss. “We’re not the only club involved in that vote.

“I think the majority of clubs in the Premier League own other clubs around the world, so it’s not solely on us, I don't think. Newcastle as a club had a view. We voted our way in the way we're allowed to, and the vote came out on the side that it did.

“I understand the focus being solely on us, but it's not solely on us. This is a vote for all Premier League clubs. We'll be potentially allowed to recruit from a league, just like every Premier League club can as well. There's no advantage in my eyes. We're the same as every other Premier League club.”

Like every other club, Newcastle’s financial dealings are governed by the Premier League’s FFP rules, and last week, Everton became the first English top-flight club to be penalised for breaching the regulations.

The Toffees were docked ten points for overspending by around £19.5m, and while there has been external pressure for the Magpies to invest as much as possible into the playing squad in order to close the gap in the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the table, Howe feels the events of the last fortnight have underlined the wisdom of the club’s more cautious approach.

“Financial Fair Play has been a difficult one for everyone - myself included – to get our heads around as a football club because it’s come in and every club has to work towards it within the guidelines,” he said. “It's certainly not my decision in terms of what happens financially, that's the club and I think the club has managed the situation very well under pressure to invest and to improve the squad and to try to move things forward as quickly as possible.

“The Everton situation came out of the blue, I think, for all of us in terms of the verdict. But they've got an incredible manager there who has done brilliant things previously in difficult circumstances and I'd back Sean (Dyche) to do the same again.”