Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan pledged during late night meetings at the weekend to back the club’s ambitious spending plans, 90min has learned.
Al-Rumayyan flew in to the country ahead of the club’s FA Cup third round tie with League One side Cambridge United, and watched on from the stands as the Magpies were dumped out of the competition by a second half Joe Ironside goal.
Manager Eddie Howe confirmed after the game that Al-Rumayyan had been into the dressing room to speak to the players, where he was ‘very supportive’ and had reminded them that everybody was ‘pulling together’ to help turn things around.
90min can now reveal that after meeting Howe and his players, Al-Rumayyan remained at St James’ Park with fellow director Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi – who together are running the club on a daily basis – to discuss the club’s plans for the remainder of the transfer window.
Talks were extremely detailed and went beyond midnight, but the hierarchy remain ‘upbeat’ about the future after agreeing that they can’t relent in their search for new players. It was also appreciated that swifter action needs to be taken to get deals over the line, with Kieran Trippier currently the only player signed after he opted to end a two-and-a-half-year stay at Atletico Madrid.
Al-Rumayyan also gave financial guarantees in the meetings – essentially confirming that the money is available to freely go out and buy players – and 90min understands that at least half a dozen players could yet arrive at St James’ Park before the end of January.
That said, Newcastle have already found out how difficult it is to negotiate deals in the winter window. The likes of Lucas Digne have turned the chance of a move, despite the riches on offer in the North East, while even when a player wants to come – such as Lille’s Sven Botman – it’s proving difficult to negotiate terms with other clubs.
Nevertheless, sources have told 90min that Al-Rummayan was given assurances that the club are making progress with a number of targets, and one of those deals is for highly-rated French teenager Hugo Ekitike.
Newcastle are in advanced talks with Reims over a deal worth just under £30m and they hope to have it completed before they face Watford this weekend, despite rival interest from Brighton, Brentford and, to a lesser extent, West Ham.