HOWE GOOD IS EDDIE: CAN THE FORMER BOURNEMOUTH MAN LEAD NEWCASTLE INTO A NEW ERA?
Eddie Howe is a manager who tends to split opinion, often praised for his work bringing Bournemouth through the leagues and improving players like Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Nathan Ake along the way. Despite this, he is criticised for almost being too stubborn when it comes to playing expansive football where it seems that he forgets about defensive stability resulting in his team conceding plus 60 goals in every season they were in the Premier League.
His appointment to Newcastle was met with surprise as, whilst he may be an improvement on Steve Bruce, he doesn’t fill fans with an abundant amount of ambition. This fact probably isn’t helped by the recent huge financial takeover of the club by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund who have brought about new hopes and aims in Tyneside.
These expectations looked like they would be accelerated after the club pursued current Villarreal manager, Unai Emery in the last few weeks but this pursuit turned out to be just out the reach of Newcastle for now. These targets set out by the club hierarchy will most likely take a few years to set in place as the Magpies have a more short term issue to worry about, and that is avoiding relegation.
As for Howe, his main success has been building attractive, possession focussed sides who have been lackluster at the back. This paired with the fact Newcastle have looked very weak defensively this term, shipping 24 goals in 11 games and are on course to concede around 80 in the whole season, doesn’t bode well. The former Bournemouth manager doesn’t exactly have a stunning recruitment history in the top flight either, making unsuccessful deals such as Jefferson Lerma and Dominic Solanke for £24 million and £20 million respectively.
However, looking at the positives of the appointment, Howe is regarded as an excellent man-manager, able to bring a disbanded group together and provide a sense of unity which is definitely something this relegation-threatened squad needs. He will also be working with former players of his such as Wilson and Fraser whom he improved immensely and turned into productive Premier League players.
This fairs well for the rest of the Newcastle attackers such as Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron as Howe has historically got good levels of production from individuals with far less quality than these two.
To the defence of Howe, during his Bournemouth tenure he was never blessed with a great amount of funds or backing to go out and massively improve that notoriously weak backline. Under Newcastle’s new ownership, one would assume that, given he shows promise from now until the January transfer window, that he would receive a healthy sum to purchase some higher quality players.
Overall, Eddie Howe is known as a student of the game and whilst he has been out of management it is likely that he has been studying other coaches trying to improve his tactics and coaching. Therefore, he most likely will get an improvement out of this Newcastle side but the question is, will it be enough to keep them up?