Eddie Howe, along with his January signings have helped propel Newcastle United up the Premier League table and already the expectations for 2022-23 are sky high. With the financial resources the club now has at its disposal their mission will be to break into the top six and challenge in the top half of the table.
The Magpies face Tottenham Hotspur in North London this afternoon and Howe comes up against the last club to disrupt the balance of the top four and make it their home under Mauricio Pochettino. Howe will need to follow in the Argentine’s footsteps to help Newcastle reach their ambitions, but he will have something that Pochettino never had at Spurs, significant financial investment. The Premier League has certainly been strengthened at the top of the table in the last few years and there are several clubs that are looking to swoop in and snatch that fourth Champions League spot, with Spurs still firmly in the race under Antonio Conte, something that wasn’t in doubt under their former boss.
It was only a few years ago when Pochettino slowly assembled a squad that achieved and maintained a place in the top four, contended for a Premier League title and of course, made a Champions League final appearance in 2019. Over the course of his five-and-a-half-year stay in N17, the 50-year-old brought in some excellent players without a budget such as Manchester City’s or Chelsea’s and was able to get Spurs close to winning the Premier League and Champions League. All it took was smart, calculated business and some extraordinary coaching, we all know the wonders he did with Dele Alli in his first few years at the club. His man-management skills are something to behold and why he is the perfect role model for Howe to look to as Newcastle look to succeed where Spurs failed.
Eddie Howe gives a fitness update on Allan Saint-Maximin ahead of Newcastle's trip to Tottenham on Sunday and says he is in favour of five substitutes.
Howe may have a tougher route to the top four given the amount of competition there is for but he will likely have a hefty war chest to build a squad that will be up for the task and there is likely going to be significant changes to the playing staff in the summer. While there are some players who have shown they deserve to have a place in Newcastle’s next, exciting chapter, there are some who will likely be moved on and that is just the way football works. For the Magpies to start laying the groundwork to achieve their goals, there is going to be an overhaul and their summer transfer window will have more than just Newcastle keeping a watchful eye on the comings and goings at St James’ Park.
Newcastle’s financial situation puts them in a strong position to go that one step further than Spurs did under the Argentinian but it will take more than a chequebook to form a team that will contend with the top-flight’s big boys for those coveted Champions League places. Howe’s coaching abilities will be put to the test, especially with multi-million pound stars at his disposal, but another thing he can learn from Pochettino is not to fill the squad with high-earning egotistical players who think they are too good to be coached, which has been a great problem at Paris Saint-Germain for him this term.
There is no doubt that Newcastle’s goals for the next couple of seasons are going grow, but we have already seen glimpses of how well Howe can get his side to play and that has been thanks to the signings made in January, who have had an instant impact. They have added some much-needed quality, while helping players already in the squad to flourish and showcase their abilities. Howe and the board will have seen the car crash of the superstar project at PSG, which cannot be blamed on Pochettino, so when it comes to their recruitment drive they will look for quality and maybe a handful of star-studded names if possible, but only those who will play for the team. That is how the former Bournemouth boss likes his teams, as did Pochettino with Spurs, which is more than a smart and sensible way for Newcastle to start their new chapter.