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Howe plots ‘smart’ signings as Newcastle gear up for Champions League

Eddie Howe says he will aim for quality rather than quantity as he launches a recruitment drive to equip Newcastle for the Champions League.

The Magpies booked a return to European club football’s elite competition on Monday when a 0-0 draw against Premier League strugglers Leicester ensured they would finish in the top four.

That will place fresh demands on a squad that has been boosted by the injection of more than £250 million ($310 million) since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took charge in October 2021.

But manager Howe, who has been praised for his signings, said there would be no wild spending as he once again looks for astute acquisitions.

“I think we’ve been really, really good in the three transfer windows so far since I’ve been here,” he told reporters.

“The challenge gets harder and more difficult because, now we’ve become a better team, there are fewer players who would make us better, so it’s going to be a big window for us.

“It won’t be huge numbers – I don’t think it can be. We don’t have the ability to spend the money that people will think we have, so we’re going to have to be smart.

“It will be a small group of players, but hopefully ones that can make the difference.”

Newcastle’s feat in reaching the Champions League for the first time in two decades is a huge achievement just 19 months after the owners bought the relegation-threatened club. 

“We’re going into now an incredibly tough competition, but the best competition that you can be in, so I don’t think the achievement can be underestimated,” said Howe.

“It’s a very, very difficult thing to do. To break that monopoly of the top four is so tough, so I think it’s a massive achievement for us and we’ll look forward to what it brings.”

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