Eddie Howe admits the cost of his quest to add the proven winners he wants to take his Newcastle squad to the next level could prove prohibitive.
The Magpies have invested in excess of £250million in new signings since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took charge in October 2021, and will look to supplement that once again this summer.
They come up against top-four rivals Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, a re-run of February’s Carabao Cup final which the Red Devils won 2-0 at Wembley, due in large part to the overall contribution of influential Brazil midfielder Casemiro.
Asked if the former Real Madrid star, who is suspended for the trip to St James’ Park, represents the kind of quality and experience he is targeting, Howe said: “Experience is a really valuable tool.
“One of the beauties of our team this season is we’ve had players with a mixture of experience and a bit of youth in there as well, so I think that mixture is hugely important.
“Certainly, people who are used to winning and have the mentality to go with that are worth their weight in gold.
“But usually with that experience and mentality comes a price tag, and that’s the balance we’ve got to get right.”
Newcastle head into Sunday’s game sitting fifth in the table, two places and three points behind Erik Ten Hag’s men, and that imposes a very different pressure upon head coach Howe than that under which he was operating at the same stage last season in the midst of a survival scrap.
The weight on the 45-year-old’s shoulders may be more welcome, but it is still one he has to try to alleviate, and he has revealed he does so through hard work in the gym.
Asked about his fitness regime, the former Bournemouth defender said: “It’s a mixture really, I try and lift some weights – I know I might not look like it – a bit of cardio in there as well.
“I tend to work out quite early in the morning. Dan Hodges comes in with me, our sports scientist, and he puts the sessions on for me and I just do what he says.
“It seems to work for me. For me, fitness and exercise just gets me into a much better frame of mind to attack my work. I think without it I don’t feel as good, so it’s an important part of my regime.”