Newcastle United are preparing for life in the Champions League with reports claiming they are looking to seal deals for Leicester City’s James Maddison and Barcelona’s Raphinha.
The Magpies qualified for next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth in the Premier League standings, beating fifth-placed Liverpool to a crucial top-four finish by four points.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is well aware that the Geordies need to make big strides in the transfer market this summer, with the Premier League club needing to improve depth and quality of their squad to be able to compete in multiple competitions.
Howe said in May: “Yeah we’ve had discussions. I don’t think (the budget) is ever outlined because there are so many variables to it, but certainly we know where we stand.
“When you’re sat in my shoes, it’s never as big as you want it to be.
“It’s a difficult one because we go into a lot of competitions next year, so we need the depth. I think this year we’ve been light, certainly in certain areas of the pitch. We’ve carried – in the second half of the season – four midfielders.
“You’re one injury away from a very difficult situation so I think we need a little bit more depth.
“We’re not there yet, you could see that (against Chelsea), but we are suffering from injuries. Certainly that’s a concern for us in that we do need to bolster our resources. We can’t be looking at one or two injuries and we’re in a difficult position.
“In the second half we were stretched and maybe lacking the bench that could have changed the game to win it.”
Howe has also previously hinted that Newcastle could bring in players that would be considered “marquee signings” this summer with the latest reports putting Maddison and Raphinha at the top of their list.
Leicester City playmaker Maddison has been linked to Newcastle over the last few months with Tottenham – who finished eighth in the Premier League – their main rivals for his signature.
Spanish publication Fichajes claims that Leicester are ‘willing to negotiate’ a transfer for Maddison following their relegation to the Championship with Newcastle now ‘on pole’ for the midfielder.
Maddison has also ‘decided’ to move and the transfer will cost Newcastle €50m (£43m) to complete, with the England international ‘taking advantage’ of the Magpies’ interest to stay in the Premier League.
The same outlet says that Newcastle ‘continue their insistence on signing’ Barcelona winger Raphinha this summer after making their first approach about a month ago.
Newcastle will face competition from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for Raphinha and the Geordies have insisted on entering into negotiations despite knowing that the ‘player prefers to stay at Barcelona’.
However, Newcastle ‘could end up convincing him’ with their financial offer and the prospect of remaining in the Champions League and Barcelona are ‘yet to make a final decision’ on his future.