Eddie Howe hopes Kieran Trippier's arrival at Newcastle United from Atlético Madrid will inspire some of the world's leading players to follow in the England right back's footsteps and head to St James' Park.
"It's a sign this club has a huge pull and I'm not talking financially," said Newcastle's manager on Friday after Trippier completed his switch from La Liga to a Premier League relegation fight. "Kieran hasn't come here for financial reasons, he's come for this club and its challenge and the longer-term vision.
“Hopefully with his signing, others players around the world will share his dream and vision.”
Indeed Howe seems quietly confident Trippier will prove the first of several statement signings made by the Saudi Arabian-led regime at St James’ Park.
A right back who previously worked with Newcastle’s manager at Burnley arrives on a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee which his new club suggest is close to £12 million (€14.35 million), potentially rising to £15 million (€18 million) in the summer, and Atlético suggest is more than £20 million (€24 million).
Whatever the 31-year-old’s precise cost, Trippier’s reunion with Howe, the manager who signed him for Burnley, has come in time for his installation in the team’s defence for the vital Premier League home game against relegation rivals Watford on Saturday week. He may, though, make his debut during Saturday’s third-round FA Cup tie against League One Cambridge United at St James’ Park.
Trippier said: “I’m delighted to be joining this fantastic club. I really enjoyed my time in Madrid, but when I became aware of interest from Newcastle United, and having worked with Eddie Howe before, I knew this was where I wanted to be.
“I’m aware there is a lot of work ahead of us but I know the demands of Premier League well and I know what an amazing club this is with very talented players. I can’t wait to get started and I’m excited to step out at St. James’ Park as a Newcastle player.”
Howe proved equally enthusiastic. “Kieran has leadership qualities on and off the pitch and a winning mentality,” he said. “He’s someone who will help us succeed on the pitch. We have a very technical player with a level of calmness on the ball. He’s a top defender too. Kieran’s up for the [immediate] fight but he also sees a longer-term vision for this club and his career.”
By the time of Watford's visit Howe, whose side have won once all season and remain in the bottom three, will hope to have recruited a centre half as well as a centre forward to replace the injured Callum Wilson, whose calf problem is still being diagnosed and could sideline him for a couple of months or the rest of the season.
Although Newcastle have made a bid for Lille’s defender Sven Botman, the Ligue 1 club rejected it and, reluctant to sell, are believed to be holding out for more than £30 million (€36 million) for the 21-year-old.
It may be somewhat easier for Newcastle to secure Aaron Ramsey's transfer from Juventus but although the Wales midfielder seems open to such a move and is very much on the way out in Turin, defence and attack appear more urgent priorities on Tyneside, where Trippier will earn more than £100,000 (€120,000) a week.
Howe covets a central midfielder and the idea of Ramsey arriving on loan does not seem entirely out of the question. On Wednesday the Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri, described Ramsey as an “outgoing player”.
Newcastle have an interest in the Everton left back Lucas Digne, who has fallen out with Rafael Benítez, but it is believed Digne is not enamoured of the idea of relocating to a club in a relegation skirmish.
Meanwhile, Amanda Staveley and her fellow directors continue to talk to Brighton's Dan Ashworth about a potential switch to the north-east, where he would work alongside Howe as director of football. – Guardian