NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe believes the signing of Bruno Guimaraes can work as a benchmark ahead of Newcastle United’s summer transfer business.
Ever the professional, Howe remains 100 perfect focussed on the season at hand at United, with safety not yet mathematically confirmed. The head coach refuses to allow standards to drop at the club’s Benton training base, or his own eye to wander toward what could be a transformative summer on Tyneside.
However, he does believe the club’s recruitment team got things right in January, when they added the Brazilian international from Lyon in a deal worth about $52 million.
“Personally, I give that the highest rating,” he said of the Guimaraes deal.
“It’s so important you get good people in the dressing room. All the characteristics that go into making a good footballer, team player — I think Bruno has all those characteristics.
“His weekend and his life is judged on the team winning or losing, not whether he plays well or not. If we are going to recruit players, we’re going to need to bring in players with a similar mindset.”
Getting a good player is one thing, but getting the right player, who fits the mold at Newcastle, can be a whole different kettle of fish.
Howe, whose side takes on Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park this evening, said: “It’s probably the most difficult part of recruitment because you see the player on a video or there live at a game. The person, away from the pitch, you can’t see.
“(We have) various methods and means of trying to do our research and make sure we find out everything we can about the person. Even then, you’re still taking an interest in terms of how they’re going to be when interacting with their own teammates who they haven’t met yet and how those relationships will fall,” Howe said.
“Thankfully, Bruno has developed good friendships already and that’s helped him settle.
“When you have a vision of where you want to take the team then your recruitment has to mirror that. I don’t think we’re trying to find a style, we will evolve into it. We know where we want to be and what we want to do but not necessarily for now, now is about results.”
Meanwhile, defender Matt Targett is set to be a major part of the club’s transfer decision-making.
The Aston Villa loanee, signed in the January transfer window, has impressed with his consistent performances at left-back, so much so that many fans are keen to see the player signed on a permanent basis.
And while speculation has been rife that a fee has already been agreed with Steven Gerrard’s men ahead of the summer window, that is yet to be confirmed by Newcastle sources.
On the prospect of signing Targett, Howe said: “There’s still games to play this season and opinions to be fully formed but I think he’s done very well. He’s fitted into the team and the group very well. He’s been very consistent with his performances.
“You look at the winning goal we scored on Sunday, Matt was at the beginning of that move and having the composure to not kick the ball out of play, deal with the defensive situation first then have the quality to find Joe Willock. He’s done very well and we’re very pleased with him.”
Targett has talked in glowing terms of his loan deal at Newcastle so far this season — and those words have not been lost on Howe.
“I wasn’t aware of any comments he made after the game, so if that’s what he said then it’s a lovely thing to hear from our perspective that he’s happy at the club and enjoying everything Newcastle has to offer,” he said.
“I’d be surprised if there was any other feeling from him because he looked so happy and settled in well.”