Newcastle United players enjoyed a positive week in Dubai with Eddie Howe wanting to be left alone to continue the respected training. United have made it clear that it will be a low-key training camp and have not held any press conferences or invited players to be interviewed throughout their stay in the Middle East.
One of Howe’s main wishes was for the group to get “closure” on defeats to Chelsea and Everton. The head coach was unhappy with the second half at Goodison Park with no real net chances created.
And while it might have been expensive on the night, the fact that it was three games in seven days inevitably contributed to that lack of sharpness. Therefore, Howe did not exaggerate the situation behind the scenes.
READ MORE – Eddie Howe’s take on the run-in
Instead, the players improved their finishing with their efforts in the sun culminating in a 5-0 rout of Gulf United. The Howe players know they have a tough game ahead of them at Tottenham one week on Sunday, but the group believe they can go to the capital and push Spurs all the way like they did at Chelsea.
With the same application as Stamford Bridge and decent refereeing this time around, there’s no reason Newcastle couldn’t emerge with something at Spurs.
United will have company if they decide to pursue Duvan Zapata
The Italian morning papers unfurled in cafes across Milan with news that Inter have joined the hunt to land the Atlanta star on their wishlist. Zapata’s representatives had a busy January without moving the 30-year-old as they responded to demands from Newcastle and West Ham.
The Hammers submitted a late contract sheet to the Premier League in an attempt to sign the Colombian star, but were beaten by time. It turned out to be a wake-up call for other interested clubs.
Atlanta slapped a €50m price tag on Zapata last year, but he has just one season left on his current contract. Inter sources are making a lot of noise about a marquee signing in the striker’s department this summer.
Zapata is on their wishlist but the suggestion this week is that they can only move for him if they miss Sassuolo’s Gianluca Scamacca. Newcastle recruitment manager Steve Nickson is well acquainted with Scamacca, 23, who has a lucrative starter deal with Nike but may have other goals in mind.
Zapata’s agent knows this is a crucial moment for the striker as at 30 it could be his last big day on pay.
Newcastle prepare to spend big but won’t be pushed around
The summer window will reopen on June 9, but talks about Newcastle’s recruitment campaign have already started in the footballing world. It’s no surprise considering the club spent £91m in January.
United are unlikely to put a cap on how much they will spend as they don’t know what difficulties await them in the next window. But one thing is clear, Amanda Staveley and co will not be held hostage by clubs who think they have unlimited spending.
Newcastle are ready to pay the big fee but will move on to the next target if they feel the clubs are trying to take them for a ride. Notably, United left the room during Diego Carlos and Sven Botman’s talks with Sevilla and Lille when the two European clubs opted to hold on for an astronomical fee.
Just as a reminder of how the club will play this summer, Ripon’s financier said last month: “It (to move the club up the rankings) requires a lot of investment.” We’re not saying we’re going to spend silly money. “Hopefully in the next transfer window people will see that we are not going to overpay players or assets. If people think we are going to spend silly money, we won’t.”
Newcastle United players continue talks over new deals
Three members of Eddie Howe’s senior squad at Newcastle await the outcome of talks over new contracts. Existing offers for Fabian Schar, Paul Dummett and Sean Longstaff all ended at the end of the season.
In his press conferences, Howe said all three are players he admires and can have a future with the club. The appearance of the Newcastle squad next season will be intriguing with the ambition to move into the top half clean, but also the need to retain players who know the club well.
This week Newcastle have agreed a deal for youngster Dylan Stephenson who has been the Under-23 star man this season with 11 goals. Although the 19-year-old’s short-term future is a loan deal with Hartlepool already one of the clubs being considered for a deal.
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