NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed his Newcastle United transfer priority this summer, with the head coach keen to add goals to his Magpies XI.
Despite missing four months of the Premier League season through injury, striker Callum Wilson remains United’s top scorer with six goals.
And although Wilson is now back and likely to start against Arsenal on Monday night in the penultimate game of the top flight season, Howe knows getting support for his frontman is paramount in the summer transfer window.
Howe said: “My aim is to, of course, bring more goals to the team but concede less. It’s creating players that can do both.
“We’ve sat down, discussed the squad and we’ve got a vision of where we want to take the team. Now the hard part comes where you have to reshape the squad, both ins and outs, and come back with a better squad.”
Rumour and conjecture is part and parcel of Premier League football and speculation about what the club will spend in the summer, under the majority ownership of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has been rife.
Howe has consistently talked of a period of evolution not revolution on Tyneside this summer, especially after Chelsea’s win at Leeds United on Thursday evening secured the Magpies’ top flight status for another year.
And while the public message is of prudence, there is a behind-the-scenes acceptance that a significant transfer spend, boosted by sponsorship deals and outgoings, will be sanctioned.
Howe knows he must strike the right balance with any business done in the window.
“With Financial Fair Play, we have restraints and we have things that we have to work within, so we can’t just go out and spend money on players like maybe teams could have done in the past and totally change their squad within one transfer window,” said the head coach.
“That is not an option for us. The more money you spend in one window, the more it impacts your ability to then spend in windows beyond.
“The rules are there to govern the game properly and we have to follow suit, so that does impact what we can do this summer.
“But it doesn’t mean that we’re totally without ambition. We want to try to bring the right players in, ones that are proud to wear the shirt and that can make a difference.
“We’re well aware that we have to change the squad and we have to make improvements, but it’s going to be a difficult balance.”
This week England international and potential future captain Kieran Trippier pushed the message that United will take time to emulate the success of the likes of Manchester City.
Howe knows it’s one step at a time, with the view that one day, the club will be competing at the top end of the English and European game.
“The club will get there. I am a believer in that the cub will get where it wants to be. The time it takes to get there, I think that is something no one can predict,” he said.
“In terms of a massive spend there are rules in place to stop that, it is all linked to boundaries we have to work toward. We will do our best to produce a better team.
“You need success sometimes to attract the better players but for us, although we are ambitious and have huge plans for the future, at the moment it is small steps, improvements, coming back a better team and trying to improve every aspect of what we deliver. I know everyone wants to go quickly but I think that’s very difficult to do.”