Newcastle transfer surprise may be on cards as £55m foresight and owner's words still offer hope

James Trafford? Max Kilman? Dominic Calvert-Lewin? Will this be a very English summer at Newcastle United? Not necessarily.

Some of Newcastle's biggest arrivals under Eddie Howe have come from the continent and close to half of the club's £400m outlay since the takeover has been spent on a select group of quality players who were playing in France, Spain or Italy: Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman, Alexander Isak and Sandro Tonali. In fact, at least one major signing has arrived from overseas in all of Howe's summers to date and in three of the four windows the Newcastle boss has previously done business in.

This is a window like no other, where clubs are particularly cautious not to take risks that could have a knock-on effect in years to come, but it is hard to imagine this summer being any different. As Howe succinctly put it last month: "Wherever they come from is irrelevant to me."

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The Newcastle boss instead wants the 'best players mixed together to form a team' and the club are looking at a particularly small pool of talent. While a number of British-based targets have emerged in recent weeks, interestingly, a left-field name from Europe has yet to.

That can lead you to draw two conclusions: Newcastle are focusing solely on Premier League proven players who can effectively plug in from day one or, more likely, as with years gone by, the identity of a number of the club's most sensitive targets is a closely guarded secret.

You see, just as Newcastle have traditionally tracked English players who can grow, such as Anthony Gordon, Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall, the same can be said about the Magpies' moves in Europe. Foreign players may need an adaptation period on and off the field but at a time when even Aston Villa youngster Omari Kellyman is commanding a £19m transfer fee, there is value to be found on the continent. Newcastle do not need reminding of that having long looked at players aged 24 and under before they truly explode in value on the continent.

Take Benjamin Sesko, for instance, who looks set to line up for Slovenia against England tonight as one of Europe's most in-demand strikers. Well, two years ago, Sesko was firmly on Newcastle's radar before the then 19-year-old was a household name. Sesko's agent, Elvis Basanovic, even paid a very public visit to Tyneside, but his client ultimately decided to stay put at Red Bull Salzburg.

ChronicleLive previously revealed it was 'not the right moment' for Sesko, but his camp still felt it was a 'great club with great people'. Those closest to Sesko, who went on to command a £55m release clause at RB Leipzig, even had immense 'respect' for Newcastle and 'the people there'.

The move did not come off, but gives you an idea of the players Newcastle look at and how the Magpies operate when rivals' eyes may momentarily be elsewhere. When Europe's elite clubs' interest in Alexander Isak cooled a little, for instance, after the Sweden international scored just six league goals in his final full season at Real Sociedad, Newcastle made their move. When others were prepared to wait for Bruno Guimaraes, Newcastle made a play out of nowhere to sign the midfielder mid-season.

Such deals do not come cheap and the reality is that Newcastle need to trade this summer to create further headroom. However, it is also worth noting that the new financial year will begin on Monday.

Having already brought in Lloyd Kelly on a free transfer, Newcastle remain in the market for three or four additions depending on the number of players who move on and there are a lot of twists to come yet. It brings to mind a comment made by Mehrdad Ghodoussi at a similar stage of the window in 2022. "Patience is a virtue," the part-owner tweeted.

Newcastle ended up signing Nick Pope, Botman and Isak before the window shut. There could be one or two surprises yet.