EDDIE HOWE has categorically ruled out making a big-money signing this month – and admitted Newcastle United could even struggle to bring in a loan addition given they currently find themselves “friendless” in the Premier League.

Newcastle’s threadbare squad suffered another major blow this week when it was confirmed that Joelinton will be absent for at least a month-and-a-half, but as Darren Eales explained in his press interviews that accompanied the publication of the Magpies’ financial results on Thursday, there is very little scope to make major additions in the January window.

Newcastle are operating at the limits of the expenditure permitted under the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, meaning the only way they can make significant permanent additions this month is to sell one of their leading assets.

As Eales conceded, there is every chance the Magpies will look to move someone on at some stage – potentially in the summer – but their lengthy injury list means they will be extremely reluctant to lose any first-team players this month.

As a result, while sections of the national media were linking them with a possible move for Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke earlier this week, Howe has admitted Newcastle are not in a position where they even contemplate making such a transfer.

“That was a frustrating story for me,” admitted Howe, ahead of tomorrow’s teatime home game with Manchester City. “Yes, I love Dominic Solanke. I signed him and I rate him very, very highly. But we have not made an enquiry for him, and we don’t have the ability to sign a player of that level.

“We’re not shutting the door on everything. But certainly, as I sit here now, no we’re not going to bring anyone in. But that may change as the window unfolds.”

Howe was referring to permanent additions there, but with Joelinton’s absence having exacerbated a midfield injury crisis that has proved damaging for a number of months now, there is scope for a loan signing to plug a short-term gap.


Ideally, Newcastle’s recruitment team would prefer all their transfer business to reflect their strategic aim of improving the squad in the long term, but for the next two-and-a-half weeks, Howe accepts that addressing short-term concerns might have to become the priority.

“Sometimes, you have to make short-term signings,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to take your long-term vision away and just deal with the here and now. I’d be quite prepared to do that if the situation arose where we could agree something that would help us for the here and now.

“Of course, there are some signings, like Anthony (Gordon) last January, where you look at it and think, ‘Well, he could help us for the next four or five years and I believe he could be an outstanding player’, and you commit to that long-term vision. We’re probably in a short-term moment now where the squad needs help in the next few weeks.”

Midfield is the priority area, with Joe Willock and Elliot Anderson still a number of weeks away from a return to full training, let alone competitive action, and Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips remains a key target.

The England international wants to leave the Etihad Stadium to safeguard his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this summer’s Euros, and while Juventus has been touted as a possible option, his preference is to remain in the Premier League.

However, Manchester City have been demanding a £7m loan fee for the 28-year-old, with a commitment to a permanent deal in the summer, and have refused to budge on their demands despite the ongoing attempts at negotiation being overseen by senior figures within the Newcastle hierarchy.

“I think there’s value in the loan market,” said Howe. “Although whether it’s value that we can utilise is something totally different. I’m not sure there's many clubs out there that are willing to help us currently. To agree a loan deal, you need the club to agree to that deal, so we’re in that moment where I’m not sure we have many friends in the market.”

Clearly, there is a high degree of frustration at the position in which Newcastle find themselves, with the willingness of the club’s Saudi Arabian backers to invest being stymied by the Premier League’s FFP regulations.

“The accounts, and what you have seen (on Thursday), would have given you an insight into how far we have to go to become the team that everyone wants us to be,” said Howe. “There was this conception when the owners took over that we were the richest club in the world.

“The reality is that’s not really important when talking about FFP, that’s irrelevant. We are where we are based on income, and we have to improve those revenue streams.”