By Damian Spellman, PA
Eddie Howe has admitted further restrictions on spending would inhibit Newcastle’s blueprint for success following a call from Liverpool owner John W Henry to impose fresh limits.
Henry, initially a supporter of the collapsed European Super League, this week spoke about imposing curbs on top of the existing Financial Fair Play and profit and sustainability regulations under which Premier League clubs must operate to preserve competition in English football.
However Magpies head coach Howe – who has repeatedly pointed to the framework to which the newly-enriched club must comply, despite investing in excess of £250million in players in the last three transfer windows, amid pointed remarks from the likes of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp about his resources – would not welcome the move.
He said: “I wouldn’t want to see any more restrictions on spending. We have spent money – don’t get me wrong – but future restrictions would certainly deny our ability to improve as quickly as we want to.”
Newcastle’s sizeable investment under their Saudi-backed owners has helped the club stage a bid for a top-six finish this season, and they had been challenging for Champions League qualification before successive league defeats by Henry’s Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City either side of their Carabao Cup final disappointment.
They remain in sixth place, but have won just one of their last eight league games and scored only three goals in the process and that is a run they need to turn around quickly if the are not to fade away.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Wolves, Howe said: “There’s a belief that we can win again and we need, very quickly, to fulfil that aim.
“I’ve never sat here and talked us up in terms of targets, top four. But I have talked us up in terms of what I believe we can achieve and the quality we have in our group and I’m not going to change now.”
Newcastle’s recent lack of goals – they have lost each of their last three games 2-0 – has increased the clamour for £60million record signing Alexander Isak to start in place of England international Callum Wilson, who has scored only once in his last 14 appearances either side of the World Cup finals.
However, Howe issued a note of caution over a player who sat out for almost four months with a thigh injury over Christmas.
He said: “He wants to play, like every player. I feel he is there, but is he 100 per cent ready to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis? Probably not. I have been delighted by his attitude. I think he’s in a good place.”