NEWCASTLE UNITED’S backroom team might have successfully concluded contract negotiations with Joelinton this week, but Eddie Howe remains adamant the club needs a new sporting director in place for the summer transfer window.

The Magpies are currently without a sporting director as Dan Ashworth remains on gardening leave after admitting to having received contact from Manchester United about a switch to Old Trafford.

In Ashworth’s absence, head of scouting Steve Nickson played a leading role in discussions with Joelinton and his representatives, with chief executive Darren Eales and co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi also heavily involved.

The trio have proved they are capable of negating the short-term impact of Ashworth’s absence, but Howe does not feel that is a long-term solution.


Staveley reportedly met new Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe this week in an attempt to break the current impasse over Ashworth, although sources on Tyneside insist the Newcastle hierarchy are in no mood to cave in over their compensation demands.

Ashworth will remain on gardening leave until an agreement can be reached, although Howe admits there will come a point where Newcastle need to start making progress with their own appointment of a successor.

“Naturally, in my opinion, a club this size has to have that (sporting director) role filled,” said the Magpies head coach. “The club will do everything it can to try and find the right person to do that.

“In the meantime, we have people in place that are filling that void. They are doing a very good job. We have carried on quite well with Dan's exit and the club's functioning well at the moment.”

Both Howe and Eales have previously spoken about the need to potentially sell a leading player this summer in order to create the opportunity to make incoming signings while still staying on the right side of the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability regulations.

Joelinton’s new contract was a massive vote of confidence in the Brazilian, with Howe conceding he would have been almost impossible to replace had he been sold after entering the final 12 months of his previous deal.

A number of other Newcastle players fall into the same position, but Howe admits he still cannot rule out the possibility of a big-name player having to leave during the forthcoming summer transfer window.

“With Financial Fair Play now, I think there will be decisions made by every club that they don't necessarily want to make,” he said. “There'll be players (leaving) and transfers done that maybe from a manager's perspective, in former times, wouldn't have happened.

“It's difficult for me to give absolute clarity on what's going to happen and what's not going to happen because I don't know. But Financial Fair Play is still, and will be this summer, something that we have to be aware of.”