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Premier League red tape again set to hold back Newcastle United transfer business, says Howe

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed that Newcastle United will again be prevented from overhauling their squad due to restrictive Premier League red tape.

The Magpies were massively hampered by the top flight’s profit and sustainability rules in the January transfer window, as they were unable to afford to sign any senior players due to their losses over the last three years.

A Premier League meeting this week saw talks to revamp the old PSR setup and replace it with a system more in line with UEFA competitions, which can see a club spend up to 85 percent of their turnover on wages, agent fees and transfers. However, despite the change, which could come into play ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, it would not massively benefit Newcastle, who are still a long way behind the revenues of the established top six — Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur.

That has led Howe to question whether the Magpies can really make too many changes to their squad in the summer.

The head coach said: “Without trying to predict the summer, which is very difficult to do, I don’t see a way we can have a mass overhaul. It’s almost impossible because of Financial Fair Play rules. Any player that we lose from our squad has to be replaced. It costs a lot of money to find elite Premier League players. I’m sure there will be trading, but I’m not sure how much.”

Newcastle face one of the established elite in the sixth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, with Manchester City the hosts. Few give the Magpies a chance in the encounter, but Howe, obviously, sees things differently, especially after three tight encounters against City, one of which was won by Newcastle.

Howe added: “I’ve said this before, we never play for a draw, that’s never in our psychology. It’s always that we’re playing to win and we’re trying to find a way to produce a game plan that gives us enough solidity in defense but also enough threat to attack.

“When you go into these types of games, if you don’t give Manchester City a problem the other way, then their day is much easier. So we have to find a way to, which we did in the home game against them. We gave them a problem, we worried them. If you look at our goals, they were high-quality goals. Yes, we didn’t have a lot of the ball but that gave us a foothold in the game and enabled us to be competitive. If you don’t get that right, it can be very difficult.”

“Intensity is our identity” was Howe’s mantra last season. And, in truth, few teams could compete. Newcastle regularly looked fitter, pressed higher and ran harder than most of their opponents, almost every week.

This season, however, things have been very different, with Newcastle, at times, looking like a soft touch. They were beaten on Monday night by an out-of-form Chelsea.

Howe said: “I think I said last year that when you went to watch Newcastle you knew what you were going to get. Before the game it was already in your mind what you were going to see. You were going to see a team that was hugely competitive, aggressive, solid, consistent, and lots of our game themes.

“This year it has been slightly different; we have been inconsistent. We’ve gone from game to game, I’m not saying you don’t know what you’ll get, (but) you’re seeing players giving 100 percent but we’ve just not been the same. We haven’t been able to maintain our rhythm in the games.

“Even against Chelsea, we were inconsistent within that game. Some really good bits; some not so good bits. That’s what we’re searching for: that identity that you can rely on.”

Meanwhile, Howe has confirmed the Magpies will be heading back to the Middle East for the fifth time during his tenure.

The players will fly out to Dubai this weekend for a warm weather training camp, similar to the ones Newcastle have financed in the last two years. The club have also visited Saudi Arabia on two separate occasions, the last of which was in December 2022.

“We’re going to go away, as we have done the last two years,” said Howe.

“We’re going to go to Dubai with the remaining players and do some warm weather training and work on some things, and I think that’ll be a good time for us.”

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