Leeds United response to Jack Harrison bid from Newcastle adds to Eddie Howe gripes
Eddie Howe thinks that Newcastle aren’t being treated fairly in the transfer market after Leeds United were one of a number of clubs to reject bids for players in the transfer window.
The Magpies failed with multiple approaches to sign Jack Harrison but weren’t willing to go above £20million for the winger, while the Whites insisted on anywhere between £40million [Telegraph] and in excess of £60million as the window went on [Sky Sports].
The Saudi-backed club also failed to buy James Maddison from Leicester and with late loan approaches to Arsenal and West Ham for Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Harrison Ashby respectively, leaving the former Bournemouth boss to complain that top flight rivals are closing ranks against his side because they are a threat.
Speaking in his Friday press conference after deadline day (2 September) he said, via Daily Mail: “That’s true, I would say so… That was definitely something we felt in the market. Domestic clubs didn’t want to be seen to be helping us. We’ll have to take that, that is part of where we are at the moment.
“We have certainly found there is no one there ready to do us a favour. It’s the narrative regarding us that has changed. If there is anything domestically, teams will put their price up if it is Newcastle.
“That is why we have walked away from a few deals because I think it is important we are not seen as that club that will pay what is asked. I think it has to be fair.”
Howe isn’t going to get much sympathy from anyone if he is complaining about fairness when he is manager of arguably the richest club in the world.
Yes, Newcastle are not the only side who are benefiting from such a situation, and yes, the financial rules favour the already biggest sides over any who want to break into the top tier, but who is he kidding?
They have hardly been spendthrifts since he took over from Steve Bruce, and it would be a staggering coincidence if the major improvement on the pitch just happened to occur independently after they outspent the rest of the league in January.
Even setting aside the entirely valid accusations of sports-washing at St James’ Park, which Howe hasn’t exactly confronted willingly, it is up to individual clubs who they want to sell to and for how much.
He has to take the rough with the smooth, and if he is backed by billions then it is no surprise that other clubs will want some of that when he comes calling.
That is especially the case when it comes to the likes of Harrison because he has been probably the Whites’ best player this season and they didn’t want to sell him.
Even if £60million was an overvaluation, repeatedly trying to get him for a third of that was going too far in the opposite direction.
He may have only been answering the question he was asked, but if Howe is worried about fairness then he’s going to be shocked when he learns a few things about the football industry.