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Newcastle United signings – Eddie Howe recruitment exemplary

2 months ago
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Newcastle United signings are now the subject of much debate.

Exactly who will arrive at St James’ Park next month?

Only five days to go until the January 2024 transfer window opens, when potentially new Newcastle United signings will arrive to help out the squad.

A moment in time I thought to reflect on Newcastle United signings already made.

Specifically, those who have arrived at St James’ Park these past four transfer windows since the change of ownership and Eddie Howe replacing Steve Bruce.

I have seen an increasing amount of criticism for the Newcastle United signings made in the most recent transfer window, the critics (journalists and many Newcastle United fans seemingly…).

If only Eddie Howe had instead signed…

Anyway, this was the reality this summer.

Eddie Howe signing 23 year old Sandro Tonali, 25 year old Harvey Barnes, 20 year old Tino Livramento, 18 year old Lewis Hall and 18 year old Yankuba Minteh.

Five summer Newcastle United signings with an average age of 20, fair to say the emphasis on the long-term.

Transparently, a case of a player to go straight into the starting eleven, another to be one of three or four competing for the wing positions, a young promising full-back looking to bounce back after missing almost an entire year with a potentially career threatening injury, plus a couple of 18 year olds very much aimed at the future.

FFP limitations much talked about and indeed, generally accepted that lifelong Newcastle fan Lewis Hall was only able to sign, due to the fact Chelsea agreed to an initial loan agreement with the transfer fee to be paid next summer.

The entire summer 2023 outlay on transfer fees by Newcastle United added up to not much more than Chelsea spent on Caicedo alone, or Arsenal on Rice. Eddie Howe spending less than any of the ‘big six’ in that last transfer window and some of that half dozen spending massively more than NUFC were able to.

The two first team ready Newcastle United signings have started a combined ten of the fifty six possible times they could have done, in the 28 NUFC matches this season. Through no fault of Eddie Howe’s, Harvey Barnes picked up a freak foot injury in September which has kept him out ever since, whilst Tonali picked up a ‘freak’ ban for the entire rest of the season.

Talk about best laid plans…

It didn’t take a genius to work out that the Tino plan was to give him time to adapt and then gradually this season come in and play an ever increasing amount of matches, clearly apprenticed to eventually take over full-time eventually on the right in place of 33 year old Kieran Trippier.

Eddie Howe handled it brilliantly and so much so that when Tino was eventually unleashed against Man City in the 1-0 cup win, he was man of the match. Then repeated that in his next start at Old Trafford, a 3-0 stunning away win in the next round of that cup competition.

A clearly top quality player with a massive career ahead of him at the very top, if handled correctly. Especially considering that injury that almost ended his career before it started and saw him basically miss a year of football before signing for Newcastle. Tino’s very last Premier League start for Southampton was the April 2022 match that put him out of action for a year.

The unprecedented injury crisis has left Eddie Howe with little/no choice but to throw Tino Livramento in at the deep end, starting nine more games (all competitions) since early November, including seven in only three weeks, before getting a much needed break when Dan Burn was brought back weeks ahead of schedule, starting against Luton and Forest.

Whilst 18 year old signing Yankuba Minteh has been sent on loan to the weaker Dutch league to develop this season, the other 18 year old signing has been kept at St James’ Park to develop under Eddie Howe, Lewis Hall with great potential but with only eight career league starts before arriving on Tyneside.

I think Eddie Howe has simply been so unlucky with his summer recruitment, I have no doubt that Tonali and Barnes would have been massive assets these past months if available. Whilst Tino Livramento is clearly a very exciting talented player and only cost a bargain £32m initial guaranteed fee.

Newcastle United Players Training

Eddie Howe has been brave with his recruitment, for the here and now AND for the future.

Plus, Newcastle United simply can’t go out and buy, at the moment anyway, four or five Premier League experienced / ready in their prime 26-28 year olds.

Which has been the case all along.

All the big money has been spent on young players with their best years ahead of them. Tino only 20 when signed, Gordon 21, Isak 22, Botman 22, Tonali 23, Bruno 24 and Barnes 25.

The Eddie Howe recruitment massively further complicated by the fact that his very first window had to be a disaster avoidance one, trying to avoid relegation AND somehow plan for what hopefully followed.

His business was exceptional in signing the likes of Trippier, Burn, Targett and Bruno.

As well as a certain bloke he got ridiculed for, who started 15 PL matches that relegation fighting season, NUFC picking up an astonishing 29 points in this striker’s 15 PL starts in 2021/22. If you need any clues, this forward scored a hat-trick at St James’ Park on Boxing Day AND had scored double figure PL goals in each of the four seasons before Howe bought him.

You can also throw in £10m for England keeper Nick Pope. Astonishing by Eddie Howe.

So, anyway, Newcastle United signings next month.

I for one will have total trust in Eddie Howe when it comes to his choice of new players, his record so far has been exemplary.

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