Newcastle are betting on Leeds win, boosting not only their survival bid but also their recruitment drive – The Athletic

“We know the importance of January,” a well-placed source said ahead of Newcastle United hosting Watford last weekend. “If we can keep in touch, it could be a league take-off. And that might just convince some of those players who are sitting on the fence to join.

This sentiment regarding signatures was echoed by intermediaries. If Newcastle have failed to beat Watford or Saturday hosts Leeds United then “many players will say no”, an agent has said.

After the 1-0 win at Elland Road, just their second win of the season and first away from St James’ Park, that same agent sent a message: ‘Newcastle will find players more willing to talk now…’

And talk to them, Newcastle certainly will, because, as uplifting as Saturday’s victory is, it still leaves them a point behind on safety. Their position remains perilous, if it no longer appears terminal, and the transfer affair that head coach Eddie Howe has identified as essential is far from over.

Since their takeover was confirmed in October, that January window has been described, almost jadedly, as the source of Newcastle’s salvation. It was assumed that the new wealthy owners would be able to get out of trouble.

More than three weeks into January, this has yet to become a reality.

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