Getting the right players is most important, not the speed at which players arrive: Newcastle chief
NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has admitted he had a dose of transfer frustration just seven days before Newcastle United head into the Premier League battle.
The Magpies recorded an impressive 1-0 win over Serie A side Atalanta at St. James’ Park on Friday night thanks to a Chris Wood penalty.
And while Howe was pleased with what he has seen from his current crop, he revealed he had hoped for better news on a frontline rookie before now.
“I probably wouldn’t have expected to be in this situation, but it’s the transfer window,” Howe said.
“As I have said many times, there is no certainty about anything. You want to do business early, but my time in leadership has taught me that rarely happens and that we need to be adaptable.
“The most important thing is that we get the right players, not the speed at which we integrate them.
“We are working hard behind the scenes to try to make that happen.”
Howe continued: “I think there is a slight frustration but not aimed at anyone on our side. It’s just an understanding of the window and the mechanics that come into play for transfers to occur.
“There is a frustration that you want to build your team and make the cohesive nature work quickly.
“We hope we can do something, but I think we showed tonight that we have strength in depth.”
Howe used the last weekend of the summer to split his United squad into two groups – and ensured all but one of those players had 90 minutes under their belt.
Kieran Trippier captained the team as Nick Pope made his home debut and fellow summer catch Sven Botman, along with Callum Wilson, Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin, were absent. It all starts against Bilbao on Tyneside on Saturday afternoon.
United got off to a good start against their Italian foes with young chief architect Elliot Anderson, but had Pope to thank for keeping the level up, as he made a strong reaction to deny Luis Muriel.
Unlike pre-season in 2021, Newcastle look fit and sharp, implementing some new high press brought by Howe this summer.
And that high press, again led by Anderson and Miguel Almiron, began to gain possession high up the field.
It was the youngster, invented the Geordie Maradona by former Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton, who created the opportunity for New Zealander Wood to score from the spot.
A short corner from Sean Longstaff allowed Anderson to create – his quick feet were far too quick for the visiting defense and he was brought down in the area. A smart move from a player who looks set to have a chance to make his mark in the Premier League this season.
Wood, who struggled for goals last season, made no mistakes from the spot, sending Marco Sportiello down the wrong way for 1-0.
After the break, the creator nearly turned goalscorer as Anderson produced a trick turn from Cruyff at the edge of the area before cracking a left-footed one to the bottom corner, only for a tense Sportiello to deny.
The visitors threw fresh legs galore in the second 45 and it started to be said as their influence grew, but it was United who came closest to adding to their lead as Almiron had to again was denied by the impressive Sportiello as he went in search of goal seven of the summer.
While Almiron has looked good for United, the star of the show is surely Anderson, who has gone from Championship door to Premier League shoutout this season.
And while the focus is on transfers, the lad from the banks of the Tyne – Whitley Bay to be precise – could well save Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund a pretty penny this summer, if his performances are continuing.
That doesn’t stop Howe from wanting more, though.
And one name heavily linked with United in recent days is Maxwell Cornet.
The Burnley striker, who can also play at left-back, has a $21.3m release clause in his contract with Burnley.
And while he could prove a slightly disappointing signing, particularly given United’s pursuit of Moussa Diaby, he would provide much-needed fresh legs in a department the Magpies are desperate to improve.
Asked about the player, Howe said: “A predictable answer from me, I won’t comment on other people’s players.”
And asked about the 25-year-old’s absence in Burnley’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at John Smith’s Stadium, Howe added: “Not that I know of. It has nothing to do with us.
Newcastle United complete their pre-season campaign tomorrow against La Liga side Athletic Bilbao.
And in seven days, the Magpies take on newly-promoted Nottingham Forest in the first Premier League game of the season, again at St. James’ Park.