Eddie Howe ends season with strong Newcastle transfer message on Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak

Eddie Howe has reaffirmed his desire to keep Newcastle United's best players on Tyneside beyond the summer.

Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak have both been linked with moves away from St James' Park before next season rolls around, with the former's £100m release clause active until June 30. The duo have both publicly spoke of their desire to stay at Newcastle but speculation just will not go away as the transfer window edges closer.

Guimaraes could be seen waving to the packed Newcastle away end at Brentford on Sunday, with Howe insisting it wasn't a farewell to supporters. The Magpies boss was also keen to stress he is planning for next campaign with each of his prized assets staying put despite interest from elsewhere.

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“It’s important (to keep best players), it really is,” said Howe. “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.”

Isak and Guimaraes both helped themselves to goals in the 4-2 win at Brentford as Newcastle rounded off a tough campaign with three points to guarantee a seventh-place finish. That will be enough to guarantee Europa Conference League football should Manchester City beat Manchester United in this weekend's FA Cup final.

“They’re two outstanding players,” Howe continued. “I’ve said it many times this season – they can make the difference for us, and they have made the difference for us in numerous games.

“But it’s always about the team for me, and how the team functions. The team gives them a platform to play well. I think they’re suited to how we play, and their involvement in the goals today was top class.

“But you can’t forget the team-mates that have helped them. It’s been a real team effort all season, they’ve really stuck together through the good times and the hard times. I can’t speak highly enough about the group of players.”