NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has described the transfer situation at Newcastle United as complex, as he looks to recruit in the January window.
The Magpies head into Saturday's crucial Premier League clash with Watford with two new faces expected to make their top flight debut for the club, having signed Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood for a collective $50 million so far this month.
And while the central defender that Howe wants through the door did not materialize before Friday's registration deadline, the head coach is hopeful he will get the man he needs before the end of the window. And he is far from critical of the club's hierarchy, who he says has been working “tirelessly” to secure deals.
Howe understands though that the perilous position occupied by the Magpies - they sit 19th in the table but can climb out of the top flight drop zone with a win - does not make transfer negotiations easy. Nor does the fact that United are targeting high quality players who clubs do not want to sell.
Providing a transfer update on Friday, Howe told the media: “We are not close to anyone else currently. We are looking, we have got time left in the window. We can move quickly if we need to try for more players. We are still active in the market.”
While pockets are deep - United are backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund - convincing players of the ‘project’ has not always been easy.
On the perils of the window so far, Howe said: “It is a very unique position but what you have to understand is that while people on the outside think it is quite an easy situation to be in, it's not.
“It's a very complex situation because you have to agree deals with clubs that do not want to sell in January. That’s well renowned in world football. Clubs are very reluctant to lose assets at this time of year and the players have got to want to join your battle and your fight to stay in the league.
“If they're at the top of their profession, it's not an easy sell. Newcastle has a huge pull in many different ways, but I believe that our league position is not one of them so it is a very delicate mix.
“Also, the most important thing for me is bringing the right characters into the group,” he added. “Character and attitude in the player - they have got to want to play and fight for Newcastle United now and in the future. Put all that into the mix and it is quite a difficult situation.”
United remain locked in transfer talks with Sevilla for the signing of Brazilian central defender Diego Carlos although - like their pursuit of Lille's Sven Botman - the La Liga outfit look to be less than keen sellers at such an early stage in the window.
When asked about Carlos specifically, Howe replied: "We are not going to play this game, are we? Going through individuals? I would never talk about other club's players whether you are factually correct or incorrect out of respect for them and their clubs. I'll never do that.”
And when links to out-of-favor Manchester United and Netherlands international midfielder Donny van de Beek were put to the United boss, he reiterated: “I'm not going to comment on other people's players. I've never done that in my career and I won't start now.”