Eddie Howe has admitted that Newcastle United will target ‘elite’ players this summer as he looks to cement his side’s place at the top of the Premier League.
The Magpies boss was quizzed on West Ham captain Declan Rice in particular, who has been linked with a switch to St. James’ Park in recent weeks.
Under pressure Hammers boss David Moyes has previously said that it would require a ‘record’ bid to prise Rice away from the London Stadium, so they will have to put their money where their mouth is to get a deal over the line.
Despite his price tag of approximately £100m, Howe has refused to rule out a summer move for the England international.
“That is a difficult question to answer. We are trying to build the best squad we can,” he said in a press conference on Friday.
“I think a lot will probably depend on what competitions we are playing in next year as to what we can and can’t do.”
Indeed, Newcastle’s spending could vary depending on whether or not they qualify for the Champions League, with Howe’s team currently in third place in the Premier League table.
Howe: ‘We want elite players’
Newcastle have spent significantly since their takeover in 2021, but still lag behind the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United in terms of their spending power, due to FFP regulations.
However, if they do qualify for the Champions League next season, they will have the capability to bring in more big-money signings in the summer.
One of these could be Rice, but as reported by TEAMtalk, he is also a key target for Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea, so Newcastle will face competition for him this summer.
When asked if signing the West Ham star would completely deplete their cash reserves, Howe responded: “I think we will always try to gauge it in every situation.”
“Our strategy last summer was to try and find quality players for the positions that we needed not to bring in a host of players who don’t necessarily improve our starting XI or squad. I don’t think our strategy will change.”
“We want elite players because we have an elite squad. If we do add anyone in they have to be better than the players we have.”
Rice could definitely be an excellent midfield partner for the likes of Bruno Guimaraes or Joelinton next season.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Newcastle do table a concrete offer for his services in the coming months.