Eddie Howe admits admiration for Ruben Neves, but Newcastle boss refuses to be drawn on new Premier League rules that are set to block such a move in Saudi market
- Eddie Howe would be open to signing top players from clubs who share owners
- He has invited others to speculate on proposed moves which would block deals
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Eddie Howe says he would be open to signing the likes of Ruben Neves from Saudi Arabia – a player he admits he admires – as he invited others to speculate on the motivation behind new Premier League rules that are set to block such a move.
Mail Sport revealed on Wednesday that a vote will take place at the next shareholder meeting on November 21 to introduce a temporary ban on incoming loans between clubs who share owners, with top-flight rivals set to close the door on Newcastle utilising the Saudi market in January.
Neves, the former Wolves midfielder, plays for Al-Hilal, whose Public Investment Fund owners have an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle.
Howe said: ‘It’s very difficult to talk about one individual player but, of course, he (Neves) is a player we liked when he was at Wolves.’
Others such as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Sadio Mane and Aymeric Laporte also play for PIF-owned clubs. Would Howe be open to signing players from Saudi?
Eddie Howe would be ‘open to signing players from anywhere’ if they improve Newcastle
Howe admires Ruben Neves, and would be open to signing him from the Saudi Arabian league
‘I’m open to signing players from anywhere if they’re good enough and they make our team better,’ he said.
The Newcastle boss met with reporters on Friday and his press conference was dominated by impending Premier League rule changes that are seen as a means of impeding his club.
Mail Sport also revealed on Thursday that a second rule change could see Newcastle’s ability to agree commercial deals with Saudi companies restricted if they cannot prove multiple offers of the same value. This could yet lead to a legal challenge.
Howe, when pressed on the proposals, said: ‘I will let you decide why those rules are coming in. That’s not for me to comment on.
‘It’s difficult for me to give you chapter and verse because it’s not a situation I’m in any control over. I’m reacting to what is happening. It’s probably better that you draw conclusions to that, not me.’
Would Newcastle fight the changes? ‘You can make that assumption,’ he said, before adding: ‘We are here to compete on the pitch and all of these things we are discussing are off the pitch. I’m not involved in those talks, I just see and hear things in the media like you are.
‘That’s where I have to be careful and draw a line with what I can talk about. I’m not involved in that world, I’m involved in the football world. We want to compete on the pitch within the rules that are set for us.
‘There is no change, we will work within the rules the Premier League set and we have to respect those rules, whatever they are.’
Howe would not comment on a rule change regarding commercial deals with Saudi companies
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