Bruno Guimaraes' full-time 'goodbye' played down after Newcastle United away end gesture

Eddie Howe has told Newcastle United fans not to read too much into Bruno Guimaraes' full-time gesture after the Magpies beat Brentford 4-2. The Brazilian helped himself to a goal and assist in the six-goal thriller before leading the Newcastle celebrations in front of a delighted away end.

Guimaraes threw his match shirt into the crowd and waved at the travelling supporters, showing his appreciation after a long and gruelling season. With the midfielder available for £100m should any suitor fancy acquiring his services before the end of June, speculation persists over a potential summer exit.

However, quizzed on the 'goodbye' to fans, Howe moved to play down any concern that Bruno was saying farewell before an imminent Newcastle exit. “I don’t think it’s a wave goodbye,” he told reporters.

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“I think Bruno’s probably done that many times. It can be interpreted as anything – it can be interpreted in a certain way if the people watching interpret that to be the case.

“Certainly, from my side, I hope it’s not. He is integral to what we are doing. He is an inspirational player and we’re desperate to keep him.”

Howe has been consistent in his view that Newcastle need to keep their best players at St James' Park beyond the summer. The win over Brentford guarantees a seventh-place finish, which could be enough to secure Europa Conference League football next season.

That will go some way to helping Newcastle keep hold of their prized assets but European qualification will only be assured if Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

“It’s important (to keep best players), it really is,” Howe added. “Good players are really difficult to find. They’re very difficult to bring into any football club because there’s such a high premium for them.

“I think a lot of the players that we’ve brought in haven’t been ready-made to hit the ground running, there’s been a process to get them to the level they are now. So, that then means you need time, and that’s time you generally don’t have.

“It’s very much that in the modern day, there’s pressure all the time to keep improving and growing. That’s why it’s important to keep our best players.”