Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has admitted the process of recruiting elite players is “exhausting”.
The Magpies have spent in excess of £250million on new signings since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took control in October 2021, and have enjoyed conspicuous success with the likes of Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes and more recently, Alexander Isak.
Whatever happens during the remaining weeks of this season, they will look to strengthen further this summer and could yet have to do so significantly if they secure Champions League football, and that represents a challenge with co-owner Amanda Staveley having previously admitted they cannot afford to sign any “duds”.
Howe, who will send his side into battle with top-four rivals Tottenham at St James’ Park on Sunday, said: “Well, my intention has been never to sign any duds, that’s clear.
“Recruitment is such a difficult thing. We will endeavour to do the best we can, to make the right decisions for Newcastle United, as is always the case.
“The work going into every signing is exhausting. It’s a long process, and that has to be the way because it’s so important.”
Newcastle were facing a desperate battle for Premier League survival when Howe arrived on Tyneside in November 2021, and he was allowed to bring in Trippier, Guimaraes, Dan Burn, Chris Wood, Guimaraes and loan signing Matt Targett in the January window to bolster the squad for an ultimately successful push to safety.
Pope, Isak, Sven Botman and Anthony Gordon have followed since with Targett making his switch from Aston Villa permanent, although it was the £35million recruitment of Guimaraes from Lyon which did much to set new standards on Tyneside.
The Brazil international was the stand-out performer during the second half of last season and the opening months of the current campaign, and his presence has helped to raise standards significantly.
Asked if the 25-year-old had improved the players around him, Howe said: “Yes, I believe so.
“I believe when you have elite players – which I think Bruno is – the standard of training increases, the demand on the players that are in your squad then increases with it.
“They also set a really good example in terms of certain things that you want delivered on the training pitch, so yes, I think he has raised standards.
“It’s one of the key things about recruitment: you want to try to bring players in that stimulate the group to improve and competition to bring the best out of everybody.”