As the season draws to a close, teams will now be – if they haven’t already – turning their attention to the summer transfer window and none more so than Newcastle United.
Following their takeover by a Saudi-led consortium in October last year, the Magpies’ trajectory has shifted off the pitch which in effect has seen a change in fortunes on it.
Initial examples of their overhaul taking place, came in the form of parting ways with former manager Steve Bruce and the consequent appointment of Eddie Howe before supplying the new boss with a set of new signings.
The extent of their January spending was curtailed due to a host of reasons out of their control. Reluctance from clubs to sell midway through a season being the key one.
This forced Howe and co to pursue targets at clubs that weren’t in a position financially to turn down – relatively speaking – lucrative offers.
Examples included Chris Wood from then relegation rivals Burnley and Dan Burn from Brighton, with the Seagulls now within reach of the heavily improved North-East club.
While Newcastle fans are no doubt hoping for an improvement on the near £90m spent in January, expectations may need to be tempered due to Financial Fair Play rules.
Howe described the club’s plan as an ‘evolution not revolution’ in an interview following his side’s humbling at the hands of league-leaders Manchester City on Sunday.
The Eddie Howe ‘evolution’
Since arriving, Howe has settled on a formation and spine to his team, ensuring not only new signings were moulded to his system but also those that were there before him.
Implementing a 4-3-3 formation, the former Bournemouth manager has overseen dramatic improvement in the likes of Joelinton, Fabian Schär and Jonjo Shelvey, who beforehand looked to be on borrowed time.
Such is the development of the prior mentioned, among others, the need for a complete revamp has lessened, therefore allowing for Howe’s desired prolonged rebuild.
“Players that you love and have a great relationship with, they sometimes have to leave for the benefit of the team,” claimed Howe, however, leading onlookers to speculate which players will be included in that.
In order to manoeuvre around Financial Fair Play rules, Newcastle will need to offload players and generate revenue.