Eddie Howe confirms first two Newcastle exits and sheds light on transfer plan

Newcastle have 'shot ahead of schedule' with top-four finish – Eddie Howe

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has confirmed that two peripheral stars will not be involved in the first-team squad when they return from loan spells at the end of the season. The Magpies are set for another recruitment drive this summer, although Howe has provided details on the plan of action by suggesting that it will remain a matter of quality over quantity.

Newcastle are already mathematically guaranteed to be playing Champions League football next season, while they have a shot at pipping Manchester United to third place on the final day. The Magpies will round off their campaign with a trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Buoyed by vast Saudi riches, the club have made a rapid improvement under Howe, who is set to be given fresh backing in the summer transfer market.

Naturally, some players will lose out as a result, and the 45-year-old has confirmed that neither Jeff Hendrick nor Isaac Hayden will be involved with the first team beyond this season, strongly suggesting that they will be among the first to depart St James’ Park.

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Hendrick arrived on Tyneside in 2020, and although he has been a regular fixture on loan at Reading this term, Howe is evidently keen to bolster his midfield by going in another direction.

Hayden, meanwhile, has been a less prominent figure on loan at Norwich this season, and it looks as though he will not get the chance to add to his haul of 171 appearances for Newcastle.

On whether qualification for next season’s Champions League has impacted Howe’s plan of action in the summer window, the Magpies boss told reporters: “I hoped to do some things [this summer] and I don’t think it changes the numbers [making the Champions League].

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“We’ll have to produce a squad for the Champions League. So top four won’t change the amount of signings. As I’ve said, it won’t be a lot of numbers and a lot of big moves in. Hopefully it’ll be the right two or three players to make us better.”

Newcastle have earned plaudits for recruiting well since their Saudi-led takeover was completed in October 2021. Several of their big-money signings over the past 12 months, including Alexander Isak and Sven Botman, have gone down a storm with supporters.

Although Howe has guided Newcastle to Champions League qualification for the first time since 2002/03, the former Bournemouth boss claims that there is no time for complacency and planning has already started for next season.

“It’s been a hectic few days,” he explained. “When the season ends, the players will break and I won’t see them again. As I say, a lot of our success next year will be down to what we do now. It’s important the players get a rest mentally but for us the work goes on.”

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