Eddie Howe has hit back at Jürgen Klopp’s claim that Newcastle can spend whatever they like. The Liverpool manager last week claimed Newcastle, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain “can do what they want financially”.
Klopp’s comment came after an assertion from Newcastle’s sporting director Dan Ashworth that “I don’t think there’s a ceiling” on the club’s ambition under their Saudi-backed owners. “He is absolutely right,” Klopp said. “There is no ceiling for Newcastle. Congratulations, but some other clubs have ceilings.”
Howe, speaking in preparation for his team’s home game against Everton on Wednesday, said: “What Dan meant with his comment was there’s no ceiling to our ambition long term. We have huge plans and want to go to places with huge ambitions, but the reality of what we are working towards and working with, there is a ceiling because of all the things I have sat here and explained every week: financial fair play. We’re still in a training ground that’s being renovated.
“We’re not living that life that is being discussed. We are living a very different reality. Our wage bill is very controlled. We’re trying to do things in a very stable and controlled way. Although we have spent money on players, it has not been extravagant or out of sync with the rest of the Premier League. Everyone has to be careful with their comments and opinions.”
Amanda Staveley’s consortium, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund holds an 80% stake, has invested around £210m in the past two transfer windows.
Howe, who said he felt moved “to stand up for my football club” in the wake of Klopp’s remarks, with relations between the clubs having become strained after Liverpool’s last-gasp win over Newcastle in August, added: “We haven’t splashed the money maybe people thought we would have done initially.
“Yes, the ambition is huge in the long term, but in the short term, we are trying to improve everything we deliver for our players and we are still working towards that. We are a long, long way from where we want to be.”
Klopp was sent from the dugout during Liverpool’s 1-0 win over City on Sunday, after berating an assistant referee. Howe, asked how difficult it is for a coach to keep his emotions in check, said: “I am very aware that I am going to be looked at by millions and millions of people, especially children, and I think you have an expectation to make sure the game is upheld in the right way and with the right spirit.”