NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has sounded an early summer transfer window warning to Newcastle United’s Premier League rivals — claiming the “pull” of St. James’ Park will help them secure more world-class talent.
The Magpies used the January transfer window to land eye-catching signings Bruno Guimaraes and Kieran Trippier, ahead of rivals such as Arsenal and Manchester United.
And, having watched the Brazilian international put in a two-goal, match-winning show against Leicester City on Sunday, Howe believes those flashes of quality on Tyneside are a sign of things to come.
Howe said: “Full credit to him (Guimaraes) for coming into a team in a relegation battle because that is not something that should be overlooked. When he, and all the other players, joined in January the team was in a difficult position.
“They wanted to take on the fight. I mean, Kieran left a Champions League team to join a team fighting relegation. That says something about the pull of Newcastle, but also something about the characters and the individuals themselves.”
Opposition boss Brendan Rodgers commented on the “top-quality” signing made by United in his post-match press conference, having watched the former Lyon man prove the difference.
Howe knows has a very special player in the 24-year-old $52million midfielder.
“Bruno has that positive attitude. He is desperate to achieve. He is here to elevate the team to win things,” said Howe. “I think it is infectious. Whatever attitude you have can inspire. It works the other way as well. If you are negative and don’t have a positive changing room it can be infectious.
“He is an incredibly passionate individual, and I like that about him. He cares deeply whether we win or lose — and I like that about him, you need players who are going to wear their heart on their sleeve and leave everything on the pitch. He is certainly one of those.”
When Guimaraes put pen to paper, he was not signed as a player to necessarily add goals to the United squad.
He was brought in to bring calmness, creativity, and control in the middle, but his goals — three in just five starts — have proved to be a welcome bonus, in a slightly altered position.
“Goals wasn’t one of the areas we felt he would enhance us as a team. But he has, he’s scored some key goals for us,” said the head coach. “Playing him in that No.8 role, you expect your No.8 to contribute goals and assists and be creative and have a good output. And, certainly, the way he has started in that role he looks like he can excel in there.
“I was really pleased with him — I thought he was excellent in every aspect, especially out of possession because we struggled to get possession of the ball for large periods of the game. Our defensive shape had to be very good and due to our three midfielders in there, it was.”
As the game wore on, and Leicester’s influence began to tell with James Maddison and Harvey Barnes thrown on to try and secure the three points, Guimaraes looked to be tiring. Was it in Howe’s mind to take the player off, and inadvertently prevent the jubilant scenes at the end?
Howe said: “Being honest, no. He wasn’t one of the players I was looking to change. I could see he was fatigued. At half-time, he had some treatment on his back. There was a slight concern there but I thought he was very important. The moments where we managed to play through Leicester invariably involved him. I wanted to try and keep him on the pitch.
“We were reluctant to change the midfield too much as I felt we dealt with their threat well. But we wanted Joe Willock’s legs to give us that lift that we needed.
“Bruno, physically, to be in that box, in the end, is probably the biggest compliment I can pay him.”