What new FFP rules mean for Newcastle and how they could affect transfer plans

Newcastle identify three summer targets as Howe eyes bigger role in recruitment

With Dan Ashworth’s exit approaching, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe hopes to have more control over the club’s transfer strategy.
Newcastle United hosted a scouting conference at a Quayside hotel a week ago for their increasing network of global and domestic talent scouts.

It is an area in which they have recently made significant investments, placing “good people” in areas where the club would never have had dedicated personnel previously. Bringing them together provided an opportunity to foster camaraderie while also stressing the club’s recruitment responsibilities ahead of a busy summer.

The word on the ground was that while transfer window aims have to be flexible Newcastle look to be targeting three areas: a versatile, young forward, a midfielder to fill the gaping No 6 void that has become a chasm at times this season and an adaptable centre-back.
The scouts also had meetings with senior members of the club’s technical staff, including head of recruitment Steve Nickson and Andy Howe, the head of first-team technical recruitment, to run through the club’s defined playing identity and the importance of marrying their talent searches with players who fit that criteria.

Technical players with versatility and ability to meet the team’s physical demands are at a premium, a blueprint that feels aligned to Eddie Howe’s values. The message one scout came away with was that the club’s ambition to take “the best players under 25 from the around the world” remained undimmed. Upgrades not filling squad spaces are the priority, hence why they passed on cut-price options in January, or loan players with huge obligations to sign.

The precise nature of their preparation work may bring some solace to those who were stunned by the magnitude of Arsenal’s setback. It is undeniably a potentially transformative summer, with big decisions ahead. Being well-prepared and ready to perform is not negotiable.

It’s worth noting that Newcastle is investing time, finances, and skill into the football club as they try to catch up. However, when the statistics are as clear as they were on Saturday, any mitigating is weak. Whether trying to catch up or not, Arsenal’s performance was so poor that an urgent and forceful response is required in the FA Cup.

It has been repeated a few times this season but this week is the biggest of Newcastle’s campaign. Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night, backed by more than 7,000 supporters in the Darwen End, is a must-win in a competition that will now likely make or break their season. That precedes a devilish home game against a good Wolves side, the sort of opponents who have troubled Newcastle this season.

Chief among Howe’s priorities is stemming not just the flow of goals his team have conceded – an astonishing 19 goals in seven games, including 12 in their last four – but the amount of chances they give away.

Here is a stat that should send shivers down the manager’s spine: last season Newcastle allowed 382 shots on their goal across the entire season (the fifth fewest in the division). This season they have already allowed 367, the fifth most in the league. Such a steep

The downturn is not solely due to the loss of Nick Pope or injuries upsetting defensive rhythm or midfield structure; there is a more alarming and deeper issue that must be addressed.

The growing consensus is that Newcastle must find a new style to play rather than simply moving the pieces around in the current system.

Dan Burn was replaced by Tino Livramento on Saturday, which seemed reasonable given the left-back’s recent targets, but Newcastle struggled to overcome Arsenal’s fierce press.

The ease with which teams play through them has been an issue from the beginning of the season, particularly against higher-caliber opponents in the Champions League but increasingly spreading to games against struggling clubs such as Luton Town and Nottingham Forest.

Part of this is due to experience: at 17, Lewis Miley is outperforming expectations, but he cannot be expected to hold back the tide in a new defensive midfield role against world-class players. Sean Longstaff’s form, which was excellent earlier in the season, has also


These are the things that matter most to Howe, not the soap opera surrounding Manchester United’s Dan Ashworth. The Newcastle manager is said to be unconcerned about the director of football’s upcoming exit, looking for more say in recruitment in any new model the club develops. And it’s impossible not to feel like the club made a mistake by focusing on the future when the present needed to be addressed last year.

For the time being, just the short term concerns. Quieting the noise in Ewood Park is critical.

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