Newcastle United will decide on their transfer budget before the weekend after revising their spending plans following Champions League qualification.
Despite the euphoric scenes on the pitch after the goalless draw with Leicester City on Monday night confirmed a top-four finish, there was no formal celebration party for players and staff at St James’ Park.
Instead, the players organized their own celebration, with coaching staff sharing a more quiet moment of reflection in an office inside the stadium, and minds have already turned to the challenges ahead, both for manager Eddie Howe and the ownership consortium.
Meetings are due to be held in the next 48 hours to determine just how much they are able to spend under Financial Fair Play rules. Decisions will also be made on which players are their primary targets, with backup options also agreed for each area of need.
Newcastle have not made a single move for a player at this stage of the recruitment process although a short list has been drawn up for each position.
That is largely due to the uncertainty over how much money will be made available to Howe and the rest of the recruitment team.
Some involved want to spend heavily in order to give an immediate boost to the first team to ensure they have the tools to be competitive in the Champions League. Others are more cautious and want to ensure the business model remains flexible in terms of future transfer windows.
Newcastle had not expected to be in the Champions League so soon after the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund but are now determined to make the most of the position they are with the extra revenue generated and new sponsorship deals due to be announced before the start of next season.
Those differences on budget plans will be thrashed out in the coming days and a consensus reached so that deals can finally be pursued.
Kudus an interest and Maddison bid likely – but Tierney reports ‘nowhere near accurate’
Howe wants to sign a right-sided center back, a left back, two midfielders and a versatile forward who can play across the front three.
Director of football, Dan Ashworth, is also keen to sign young players to bolster their development squad, although first-team ready players will be the priority in terms of allocating funds.
Sources have told Telegraph Sport that Newcastle are likely to spend more in this window than they have done before under their Saudi Arabian owners, although there will still be restrictions in place and the wage bill will be capped.
Those wage restrictions are likely to be the main hindrance in Howe’s desire to sign “elite players” with targets like Declan Rice and Mason Mount asking for way more than Newcastle appear willing to pay.
The priority at the beginning of the window will be to sign players to improve the starting XI, but there is also an appreciation for the need to add depth to the squad as well given the extra games they will have to play in Europe next season.
Telegraph Sport can confirm that Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus is a player of interest but there is nothing more in it than that at this stage.
Equally, although Arsenal full back Kieran Tierney is also on their wanted list, nothing has been finalized with reports claiming a deal has been agreed for the Scotland international “nowhere near accurate.”
An early bid for Leicester City’s James Maddison is likely but Newcastle want firm assurances that the player genuinely wants to come and will swiftly move on if they feel they are being used to flush out bids from other clubs.
However, his Leicester teammate Youri Tielemans, who will be available on a free transfer, is not on Newcastle’s shopping list.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have not made any significant progress in a new deal for star midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.
The Brazilian international still has three years left on his contract and will definitely not be sold this summer, but an extension has not been agreed as things stand. Talks are likely to continue over the summer.
Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.