Pundit Paul Robinson has provided a shock claim over Eddie Howe as the Englishman prepares to take charge of his first Newcastle United game.
Howe became Magpies boss on November 8, shortly after the departure of boyhood fan Steve Bruce. The former Bournemouth manager is tasked with taking Newcastle into a new era, which could culminate in a return to European football.
His first job will be to help the Tyneside club avoid relegation from the Premier League. They sit 19th after 11 rounds of fixtures and are yet to win a game.
Howe’s first match is a home clash against Thomas Frank’s Brentford on Saturday afternoon. After that, his attention will turn to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who host the Magpies the following weekend.
Reports claim that Howe will be given £50m to spend in the upcoming January transfer window. That could see him bring in Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Argentina forward Giovanni Simeone.
Man Utd goalkeeper Dean Henderson is also on their shortlist, after deciding to leave Old Trafford on loan.
During an interview with online outlet Football Insider, Robinson made an interesting prediction about Howe’s future.
“Howe will be harshly judged on his transfer business,” the former shot-stopper said. “He’s got to keep them in the Premier League this season. Then I strongly suspect that if he isn’t in that top ten next season, he will lose his job.
“They’ve given him this opportunity because he knows the league, he knows how to keep a team in this league. He did it with Bournemouth on a much lesser budget.
“It will be a really good test of his managerial credentials to see if he can build this Newcastle side. To get them up into that top half of the table.”
Howe admits to ‘huge’ Newcastle demands
At Friday’s press conference, Howe was quizzed on the pressure he faces at St James’ Park.
“I have to separate myself from the noise because the noise isn’t going to help me in the job and my dealings with the players, so I think that’s going to be one of the most important factors for me,” he said.
“I have always prided myself with my work with the players, my interactions with them, the way that I have tried to improve them.
“That can’t change despite the bits of my job now, the demands on my time that are going to be huge. But I have to prioritise, so I think that’s going to be a key thing for me.
“You can sense that it’s a huge job. There’s a real yearning from the supporters to be successful, to produce a team that they enjoy watching – that’s the big challenge ahead for us.”