Newcastle have been busy this summer trying to find the right pieces for Eddie Howe’s puzzle.
Sven Botman and Nick Pope have already been picked up, while Matt Targett’s loan from Aston Villa was made permanent, but Newcastle still have plenty of targets for the remainder of the summer, and although they have the money to sign nearly any player they could want, the Magpies are adamant they will not be forced to pay a premium for any signing.
That respectable stubbornness has seen talks for a handful of players fall through already, but Newcastle aren’t dwelling on their misses and are continuing to scour the globe for the right targets, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes at St James’ Park.
Ideally, Howe wants a new striker, winger and creative midfielder to bolster his squad, and those in charge have a few ideas of how to provide that.
Here’s 90min‘s understanding of Newcastle’s plans for the final few weeks of the window.
Chelsea have a number of players who have been made available for transfer already, as well as a handful who could easily become available, and Newcastle have made contact with the Blues to ask for a status report.
On Newcastle’s wish list for loans are Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Conor Gallagher. The two wingers have both been told they are free to leave this summer, while midfielder Gallagher is currently part of Chelsea’s plans but could drop down the pecking order if the Blues bring in a new face.
An enquiry has also been made over striker Armando Broja, with Newcastle prepared to pay for a permanent transfer if the Albanian, who is currently on the fringes of Thomas Tuchel’s first team, is not available on loan.
Premier League rules limit clubs to one loan signing from any one club in the same division.
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In the creative midfielder department, Newcastle have already had two bids rejected for Leicester’s James Maddison, whose £60m price tag is seen as unrealistic by the Magpies.
While the interest in Maddison still remains, Newcastle’s current focus is on Lyon’s Lucas Paqueta, who was among the targets back in January. He was valued at £50m back then – too much for Newcastle’s owners – but is now believed to be available for around £33m.
A close friend of current Geordie star Bruno Guimaraes, Paqueta is thought to be open to the idea of linking up with his former Lyon teammate.
No 9 they like Joao Pedro, but also held talks recently about Goncalo Ramos – again these are continuing about both players.
Howe is a big fan of Callum Wilson but wants to add more goal threat to his squad and there are two names which are being spoken about more than most at St James’: Joao Pedro and Goncalo Ramos.
A bid of just under £20m for Pedro was quickly knocked back by Watford, who insist the Brazilian is not for sale. Newcastle haven’t given up hope but are exploring other options, one of which is Ramos of Benfica.
A fresh round of talks was recently held with Benfica over the 21-year-old, who has four goals and three assists in four games this season.
Negotiations over both players are ongoing.
It is wingers who have caused Newcastle the most trouble this summer.
Pursuits of Leeds’ Jack Harrison and Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby both ended in failure, while an early approach for Hudson-Odoi was knocked back before the Chelsea man asked for a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Talks over Marseille’s Bamba Dieng have stalled amid Newcastle’s reluctance to pay too much up front. Financial Fair Play concerns have limited the Magpies’ spending power this summer and they are looking to strike deals which would allow them to save now and spend big further down the line.
It’s for that reason that loan moves for Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi are high on the priority list, but Newcastle would likely demand a contribution to either player’s wages from Chelsea.