Newcastle close to latest signing but Eddie Howe refuses to identify the player

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Eddie Howe has revealed Newcastle are “close” to making their third signing of the January transfer window but would not confirm whether or not Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is the player in question.

Howe said it would be “foolish” to name names despite reports that Newcastle have agreed a fee of up to £40million for the 24-year-old Brazil international, who could undergo a medical later on Friday.

“There’s nothing on individual players but we are hopeful we are getting close to completing a transfer,” Howe said.

“You can guess (who it is) if you want but there’ll be no confirmation from me, I think that would be foolish of me.”

But Howe added that Newcastle would remain active in the transfer window, seeking further reinforcements in their fight against relegation, having already signed Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood this month.

“From my perspective I don’t imagine that would be the end of our interest in bringing new players in,” he said.

“Whether that turns into reality, who knows? Things change very late in this window as everybody knows, it can be quite unpredictable in the last couple of days.

“We’re open. We’re working hard to improve the squad. Our biggest aim is to give the team the best chance of staying in the league.”

After the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of the club was completed in October to leave Newcastle flush with cash, the Magpies have been linked with dozens of players.

But Howe said the reality of the January transfer window was much more frustrating, and admitted it was possible the club had been hit by a “Newcastle tax” when it came to the prices being quoted.

“There’s a combination of a lot of different things,” he said. “Clubs are not wanting to lose players during a difficult time and everyone has their own aims. You add Covid to the mix, four or five players can go down very, very quickly so clubs have tended to want to keep players and have bigger squads.

“Of course our league position it’s been a challenge to attract players. Then there’s the usual restrictions around transfers so it’s been a more difficult year than perhaps any other…

“With every window you learn different things. Everyone will come out of this wiser and more experienced. Is there a Newcastle tax? There possibly is in all honesty.

“That’s something we have to live with, but I don’t think it will be evident further down the line as we go further into our journey.”

Howe was speaking from Jeddah, where Newcastle have travelled on a warm-weather training camp which has included meetings with the club’s chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and other representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

“I’ve spoken with the chairman, we met him and that was a great experience to hear his thoughts on the club and his vision and how the future looks,” said Howe, who was otherwise tight-lipped on what that vision might have looked like.

“The players enjoyed that, I enjoyed that and a lot of people around the PIF team have been around here as well so it was a very good experience to bring everybody closer together.”

Newcastle went into this break on the back of a 1-0 win over Leeds, only their second league victory this season, and one that lifted them to within a point of 17th place.

“I’m very positive and optimistic we can stay in the division,” Howe added. “The squad looks stronger, the mentality looks stronger and I’m pleased with the performances.

“We know that one result against Leeds can’t be an isolated thing. We’ve got to try to build consistency of results into our game and we’re absolutely determined to make sure that is what happens.”

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