EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Howe and recruitment team told they will have £75m to spend at Newcastle this summer with James Maddison their top midfield target and Moises Caicedo, Scott McTominay and Conor Gallagher under consideration
- Newcastle have to be wary of spending in order to stay within FFP regulations
- They will prioritise a midfielder and Maddison is seen as the best option
- The Magpies are also eyeing a left-back, centre-back and versatile forward
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe and his recruitment team have been told there is a transfer budget of £75million this summer, with James Maddison topping their list in the priority position of midfield.
Several sources have confirmed that is the figure they are working towards and, because of Financial Fair Play, the only way to push it closer to £100m would be to sell a player now or bank on doing so next summer.
Mail Sport understands that Leicester’s Maddison is a target they are ready to pursue, with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, Moises Caicedo of Brighton and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher also under consideration.
Newcastle have spent £250m across three transfer windows under Saudi-led ownership and, following this season’s top-four finish, supporters had expected a summer of record investment. However, Mail Sport has been told that current FFP calculations allow for a spend of £70-80m, and Howe and the scouting department are aware of those numbers. The caveat is that, as we have seen in previous windows, Newcastle have gone beyond their initial budget.
Leicester, despite their relegation from the Premier League, want £60m for Maddison and will hope that competition between Newcastle and Tottenham protects the asking price. It has been communicated for a while that the 26-year-old would have preferred a move to London, but there is a feeling that may have changed given Newcastle’s Champions League qualification and Tottenham’s decline. The prospect of working with Howe is said to be a key attraction.
James Maddison is top of Newcastle’s wish list this summer as they look to sign a midfielder
Maddison will leave Leicester after they were relegated from the Premier League this season
Eddie Howe has been told he has £75million to spend this summer to stay within Financial Fair Play regulations
Newcastle are also keen on Caicedo but will not stretch to the £80m Brighton are demanding. The 21-year-old, however, is the perfect profile of holding midfielder they crave. Maddison is seen as more of a No.8 who could play on the right of a midfield three.
McTominay, meanwhile, will be allowed to leave Old Trafford this summer, although Manchester United may have to lower an asking price currently in excess of £30m. Likewise Gallagher at Chelsea, who Newcastle rate at less than half the £50m Chelsea want for the England international. Sources say other midfielders are preferred and Chelsea’s current stance makes a deal unlikely, but the 23-year-old remains of interest, especially given his scope for improvement under Howe.
Khepren Thuram of Nice, PSV’s Xavi Simons and Tyler Adams of Leeds are on Newcastle’s longer list, but the focus would appear to be on Maddison for now. RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai has also been watched.
The Magpies are monitoring the situation at all of the relegated clubs, although we understand Leicester pair Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans are not targets. Barnes, 25, is liked, but Newcastle believe 21-year-old Anthony Gordon – signed for £40m from Everton in January – will emerge as a key player for Howe next season. Gabriel Veiga, of Celta Vigo, has been heavily linked with Newcastle in recent days but he is not the type of midfielder they want this summer. Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby is not on the wanted list, either.
Scott McTominay (left) is another player Newcastle are monitoring, while they are also keen on Moises Caicedo (right) but are not willing to meet Brighton’s asking price
Conor Gallagher is a third name on Newcastle’s shortlist but they value him at half of what Chelsea want for the midfielder
The other positions Newcastle wish to recruit are a left-back, right-sided centre-back and versatile forward. Kieran Tierney is an option at left-back – Arsenal want at least £30m for the Scotland international – but that move could depend on how much cash remains after prioritising a midfielder. Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae is admired – he has a release clause of £40m – but there is a feeling his salary demands would break the club’s structure and Manchester United is a more likely destination.
Newcastle will gradually increase a top wage of £140,000 per week, but first they need to improve revenue streams. Commercial income under Mike Ashley was so low that it continues to impact on the club’s ability to manoeuvre in the transfer market.
A £25million-per-season shirt sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabian events company Sela will be announced in the coming days. A Kuwaiti firm were in the running for the main shirt sponsor and could be one of several still interested in other commercial opportunities that are being explored.
Meanwhile, Simon Capper is set to arrive from Leicester as Newcastle’s new chief financial officer.