Smart Newcastle recruitment promised as Eddie Howe offers major hint over summer transfer plans

Eddie Howe has promised 'smart recruitment' at Newcastle United as he seeks to take the Magpies to the next level.

The club's transfer business in recent seasons has proved rather fruitful, with last summer's £120m+ outlay beginning to look like value for money. Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall, signed for a combined £68m, are blossoming into potential long-term heirs at full-back, while Harvey Barnes has shown glimpses of what he can do since returning from a freak injury of late. Sandro Tonali will no doubt prove his worth once his 10-month suspension is behind him.

Going forward, Newcastle's transfer team, currently headed up by Steve Nickson and Howe's nephew Andy, will again be on the hunt for much-needed value for money in a crowded marketplace. It is expected at least one new centre-back will be targeted, along with the possibility of adding depth at left-back, in attack and among the goalkeeping department.

Speaking to Gary Neville during an interview on Sky Bet's 'The Overlap' this week, Howe admitted his side will have to be shrewd spenders again this summer amid ongoing Financial Fair Play & Profit and Sustainability rules and regulations.

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“The only way that I know is for us to get to the next stage at Newcastle is through smart recruitment," the Newcastle boss said. "That is going to be where we ultimately succeed or fail, and when I say smart, we need to get players for cheaper than the market value and we need to get them before they’ve developed and are recognised.

"Given the restrictions, I don’t know another way of doing it. Also, we need to keep our current group of talented players that are making a difference and are continuing to grow. I think it can be done but it’s going to be hard.”

As well as the aforementioned quartet of signings, Newcastle have struck gold with deals for Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak in seasons gone by. While both attackers cost a combined total of £108m, it's safe to say neither had reached anywhere near their respective ceilings when they arrived at St James' Park.

Gordon's £45m price tag raised eyebrows given his lack of consistent returns in front of goal and his underwhelming end to life at Everton, while Isak, who is now scoring for fun in the Premier League, only found the net six times in his final La Liga season with Real Sociedad.

The likes of Dan Burn, Fabian Schar, Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy and Miguel Almiron can all be filed under examples of players who have vastly improved under Howe too, with the Newcastle chief hinting he is hoping to sign more players who haven't reached their full potential just yet.

“For my way of working, I think those players [players who haven’t hit their full potential yet] fit my style well," he added. "You’re developing them and growing them in a certain way, moulding them into your style so they can fit into the team model the best way possible.

"If you have a finished product, there isn’t much moulding to do there. I don’t think that means that there isn’t a place for a superstar, however you want to bracket that player, a difference maker, I think you can accommodate them as well, but where we are at the moment with the constraints we’re working under, that’s the best way for us to work.”