Mikel Arteta has invited Arsene Wenger to make a sensational Arsenal return as he claimed the Gunners "would be delighted to have him much closer".

Wenger was appointed Arsenal manager in 1996, leading the Gunners to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup triumphs before his departure in 2018.

The Frenchman currently works as FIFA's chief of global football development, acting as a figurehead for world football's governing body.

Arteta played under Wenger for five years before retiring in 2016 and taking a coaching role with Manchester City, prior to accepting his first managerial job at Arsenal in December 2019.

After meeting the 72-year-old at the recent premiere of his film 'Arsene Wenger: Invincible', Arteta indicated he would welcome his former manager Wenger back to the club immediately.

"There has been communication, I saw him and talked to him when we went to see his film. It was incredibly pleasant to see him, to chat to him, and hopefully we can bring him close," Arteta told a news conference when asked about Wenger on Thursday.

"I think he would have a great time seeing the environment he could create around him.

"It is great when he comes around this place because of the respect and admiration everyone at the club has what for he has done and what he represents as a person for us."

Pressed for clarity on a potential role for Wenger, Arteta said: "I cannot tell you now, but what I can say is I would like him to be much closer, personally to me because he would be a great help for me and the club.

"But things take time, and he has to dictate those timings. What I can say, on behalf of everybody, is we would be delighted to have him much closer."

Arsenal are preparing to face strugglers Newcastle United on Saturday, having won 16 of their last 17 Premier League meetings with Eddie Howe's new side.

The Gunners have also never lost a game against the side starting the day bottom of the top-flight table, but Arteta has warned that Newcastle pose a different threat under Howe.

A 4-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend has set back the progress that Arsenal appeared to be making.

"We must play as good as we can, we will learn [from the Liverpool loss] and compete throughout the game," Arteta said.

"Let's keep going, it's a new game. There are some changes [at Newcastle]. You can see the momentum is building; it's different even in the last game they played.

"New manager, the new coaching staff – we need to be prepared. I admire Eddie and his style of play, Newcastle are not as poor as the table suggests.

"Their last few games could have all gone entirely different ways. With the attacking threats they have got in the final third, we are going to have to be really cautious and play as well as we can."

Mauricio Pochettino remains Manchester United's top target, according to reports.

It may be some time before the Paris Saint-Germain boss ends up at Old Trafford, though. 

United appear set to finish this season with an interim manager before making a permanent move for the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's long-term successor.
 

TOP STORY – UNITED FOCUSED ON INTERIM MANAGER OPTIONS

All indications are that Mauricio Pochettino will end up at Manchester United eventually, but it could take several months.

The Daily Star reports Pochettino will have to wait six months – through to the end of this season – before jumping from Paris Saint-Germain to Old Trafford.

The report says United have not made any official overtures to PSG and are focused on finding an interim boss instead, with hopes of appointing one by mid-December.

Julen Lopetegui and Ernesto Valverde are among the candidates for that role, claims the Daily Star, while the Mirror says Ralf Rangnick, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Rudi Garcia also are in the mix, along with caretaker manager Michael Carrick.

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- United and Newcastle are the top contenders to sign Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, according to The Sun.

- Liverpool and Barcelona are eyeing a move for Christian Pulisic, reports El Nacional, but Chelsea's €50million price tag would be too much for Barca and the Blues prefer not to sell the USA international to another Premier League club.

- Chelsea are interested in adding defender Attila Szalai from Fenerbahce, says Football Insider.

- Adama Traore could be on the move in January as Wolves are prepared to listen to offers for the 25-year-old, Football Insider reports.

Emerging Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic has a long list of admirers.

The 21-year-old netted 21 Serie A goals last season.

Vlahovic scored a double in Fiorentina's 4-3 win over Milan last weekend too.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE STILL KEEN ON VLAHOVIC

Cashed-up Newcastle United will still pursue hot property forward Dusan Vlahovic despite Fiorentina's €80million (£67m) asking price according to Corriere Fiorentina.

The bottom-of-the-table Premier League club are determined to land the Serbian who has also attracted interest from Juventus.

Juventus want Vlahovic in January and are still front-runners to land the 21-year-old, who has already netted 12 goals this term.

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- Sky Germany reports that Borussia Dortmund are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to keep him at the club, amid interest from Real Madrid, BarcelonaChelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

- Barcelona are considering moves for either of Chelsea pair Timo Werner or Hakim Ziyech as an alternative to Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling claims ESPN.

- Liverpool, Leicester City and Newcastle are all monitoring Olympiacos' 20-year-old midfielder Aguibou Camara reports The Sun.

- Milan have entered the pursuit to sign Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette claims Calciomercato. Atletico MadridBarcelona and Newcastle are all interested.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it seems, is no longer at the wheel.

Following another drubbing, this time a 4-1 rout at Watford on Saturday, Manchester United have reportedly called time on Solskjaer's tenure.

After a lengthy meeting, the club great is set to be axed.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER TO BE SACKED

Manchester United have agreed to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to widespread reports.

Having already been humiliated by Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City prior to the international break, United's season hit a new low following Saturday's 4-1 rout at lowly Watford.

Amid a worrying slump, The Athletic, Manchester Evening News and Fabrizio Romano claim United have opted to part with Solskjaer amid links to former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag.

 

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- Sport says Raheem Sterling has told Premier League champions Manchester City he wants to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

Barca and City are among the clubs interested in Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, per Fichajes.

- The Sun reports Newcastle United are looking to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbia international, who scored twice to sink Milan on Saturday, has been linked with City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, says Mundo Deportivo. The Germany international is a free agent at season's end. Bayern are also believed to be interested.

Eddie Howe will be absent as his Newcastle United tenure begins on Saturday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Former Bournemouth manager Howe was named Newcastle's new head coach at the start of the international break, the first appointment at St James' Park since the club's lucrative Saudi-backed takeover.

After two weeks on the training pitch, attention has turned to the visit of Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday as Newcastle aim to end their club-record 11-game winless start.

But the Magpies will be without Howe in the dugout as he has been forced to isolate having returned a positive COVID-19 test.

Jason Tindall, Howe's assistant and successor at Bournemouth, and Graeme Jones, the interim coach between Steve Bruce's sacking and the new man's arrival, will lead the team against Brentford.

"I'm very disappointed that I won't be there with you all at St James' Park tomorrow," Howe said in a message to fans. "But it is incredibly important that I follow the guidelines and self-isolate.

"I'd like to reassure everyone that I feel fine, and while this is unwelcome news for me, I know it hasn't derailed our preparations for what is an important game.

"I have been, and will be, in constant communication with my coaching team and the players, both tomorrow and during the week, and I know they will be giving everything on and off the pitch."

Lee Charnley has left his role as managing director at Newcastle United following the club's lucrative takeover.

Charnley worked his way through the ranks at St James' Park across 22 years, holding positions before, during and briefly after Mike Ashley's unpopular tenure.

With Ashley increasingly absent from the day-to-day running at Newcastle, Charnley took on increased responsibilities while still reporting back to the owner.

He remained in his role initially when a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund bought the club for £305million last month.

Although reports this week indicated Charnley had hopes of remaining at Newcastle, his departure was confirmed on Friday.

"To have been at Newcastle United for 22 years has been an honour and a privilege, and the club, its people and our city will always be very special to me," Charnley said in a club statement.

"As it enters a new chapter in its history under new owners, I wish Amanda [Staveley], the rest of the board and everyone connected with the club every success."

Newcastle have been linked with a move for former Chelsea director of football Michael Emenalo, who could be appointed to a similar role on Tyneside.

That hire is set to work alongside Charnley's replacement, as the statement added: "The club's new board will continue to oversee all operations. The club has also begun a formal recruitment process to appoint a CEO and will make an announcement in due course."

New head coach Eddie Howe is set to take charge of his first Newcastle game on Saturday at home to Brentford.

Charnley was said to be involved in the recruitment process that saw Howe hired after Villarreal boss Unai Emery snubbed the Premier League strugglers.

Arsenal could look to offload Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old has not lived up to his billing after being signed in 2019.

Pepe has scored once in nine appearances for the Gunners this season.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN SET FOR JANUARY PEPE SWOOP

Italian giants Milan are interested in signing Arsenal's Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe, claims Il Milanista.

Pepe has more than two years to run on his Gunners deal, having joined on a five-year contract from Lille in 2019 for a club-record fee of £72 million (€79m).

Arsenal may be willing to let Pepe go for a little as £25m in January.

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- Chelsea's Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta is on Barcelona's transfer radar, according to SPORT. The 32-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Tottenham have joined Inter in having an interest in signing Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, claims Kicker. Tolisso is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that talks between Gavi and Barcelona on a five-year contract extension are progressing amid interest in the Spanish teenager from Chelsea.

- Jose Mourinho's Roma are considering a move to sign Atletico Madrid's Mexico international midfielder Hector Herrera in January, claims Calciomercato. Atletico are willing to cash in on Herrera, who is out of contract in mid-2022.

- Manchester City target Theo Hernandez is close to completing a contract renewal with Milan, according to Rudy Galetti. The Rossoneri have reached an agreement with him until 2026.

- FotoMac claims Mohamed Elneny's agent has reached an agreement with Arsenal for the Egyptian to leave in January. He was previously linked with Galatasaray.

- Lens midfielder Seko Fofana has been added to Newcastle United's shortlist of transfer targets, claims Foot Mercato.

After two weeks on the training ground, Eddie Howe returns to the Premier League arena as head coach of Newcastle United on Saturday.

Now working for Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the world's richest football club owner, Howe needs results fast with Newcastle second from bottom and five points from safety.

Indeed, the Magpies have endured the worst start to a league season in their history after a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break extended their winless run to 11 matches.

For all the talk of exciting January moves for Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele or Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Barcelona's expensively assembled squad, reports say, is ripe for picking – there is a job to do first, and that starts at home to Brentford.

Burnley and Norwich City, the previous two teams to break winless starts before Newcastle, got their first victories against Brentford, yet just one of the Magpies' past eight bosses has won his first Premier League match in charge of the club (Alan Pardew versus Liverpool in 2010).

Has Howe, who rescued Bournemouth from relegation out of the Football League and took them all the way to the top flight, already had an impact on Tyneside?

Saturday's encounter at St James' Park should tell us plenty – and these are the key themes to look out for...

Fix the defence

The biggest worry around both Newcastle and Howe relates to their defensive records.

Only Norwich (26) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (24) this season, while the Magpies' opponents have had a league-high 21.6 expected goals. That back line clearly needs attention.

But Howe's Bournemouth conceded at least 61 goals in each of their five seasons in the top flight, making him far from an obvious candidate to address Newcastle's biggest need.

There is a lack of quality options within that defence, but Graeme Jones, the interim coach who has taken a role on Howe's staff, attempted to stem the tide during his short reign as the main man.

At odds with the more aggressive pressing approach Howe is likely to adopt, Jones' side sat deep. Across games against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Brighton, Newcastle had the highest PPDA (an incredibly passive 22.6 opposition passes per defensive action) and the second-deepest average starting position (just 37.5 metres from their own goal) in the league. The Magpies still conceded five times and earned only two points.

Regardless of what changes Howe makes at the back – and there have to be changes – those in front also require greater co-ordination.

In Sean Longstaff (52.9), Joe Willock (49.9) and Miguel Almiron (49.7), Newcastle have players who rank first, fifth and sixth among central midfielders for pressures per 90 minutes this season. Their haphazard pressing, lacking any clear cohesion, has succeeded only in leaving gaps behind them, however.

Neither Longstaff nor Willock featured at Brighton, while Almiron played on the right flank and was taken off after 74 minutes.

Keep the ball

The pressure on Newcastle's defence would be relieved by an ability to keep the ball for any extended period. Their average possession of 37.3 per cent is comfortably the lowest in the division this season.

But that is nothing new; Newcastle have ranked in the bottom three in this regard in each season since they were promoted in 2017.

"We hopefully have nudged it along a little bit this week," Jones said before the Brighton game, where Newcastle had just 34.1 per cent of the ball. "You can't go from how we played against Chelsea and Crystal Palace to being Barcelona overnight. It's impossible, so it needs to be small steps."

Howe, Newcastle will hope, should be able to help with those steps. Since Bournemouth were first promoted, only Leeds United last season (57.8 per cent) have averaged more possession in their first year in the Premier League than the Cherries in 2015-16 (51.1 per cent).

Although Bournemouth's possession figures then dropped with each campaign until they were relegated with 43.4 per cent of the ball, Howe has the opportunity to make a strong start against a Brentford side who rank 15th in the division for possession (44.9 per cent).

Feed the forwards

Having more possession should fit hand in hand with getting Newcastle's dangerous attacking players on the ball more often. Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin have too often been isolated.

"We have been a lot further from the goal than we'd like to be," Wilson told Chronicle Live this week.

The certainty of a full-time appointment should at least allow Newcastle to settle on a system that suits both players after drastically shifting their approach following each miserable run of Steve Bruce's tenure. Tactical flexibility, as Howe should show, is one thing, having no proven plan to fall back on is another. At Bournemouth, that was some variation on a 4-4-2.

Even with Newcastle struggling, Wilson has managed to score 16 goals since the start of last season. Among the 14 players to net 15 or more in that time, only Mohamed Salah (127), Harry Kane (163) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (164) have averaged fewer minutes per goal than the Magpies' number nine (167).

"A fit Callum Wilson is as good as anybody in the Premier League," Jones said.

Of course, Howe has experience with Wilson and with Ryan Fraser, both of whom he brought to Bournemouth.

Under Howe in 2018-19, Wilson and Fraser combined for 12 Premier League goals – at that time, the second most of any duo in the competition's history in a single season, behind Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton (13 in 1995-96).

Wilson added: "I am exactly the same as the manager coming in – he's got this attacking style of play. As a striker, you are licking your lips knowing you are going to get more opportunities."

If Howe can help the ex-Bournemouth pair reprise that form and build some sort of platform behind them, Newcastle should yet have enough to survive – perhaps boosted by a winning start against Brentford.

The Premier League has announced that chairman Gary Hoffman is stepping down from his post.

Hoffman is resigning after less than two years in the role, only being appointed in April last year and officially starting two months later.

He will not leave until the end of January, although no replacement has yet been selected.

Hoffman was reportedly the subject of an unofficial vote of confidence by Premier League chairmen last week. 

The 61-year-old is said to have come under scrutiny from clubs over the handling and approval of Newcastle United's contentious, Saudi-backed takeover.

Clubs complained that they had not been consulted fully over the decision.

The Premier League released a statement on Wednesday thanking Hoffman for his work and revealing that the search for a new chairman has begun.

"The Premier League is grateful to Gary for his committed service," the statement read. "He has led the League during the most challenging period in its history and leaves it in a stronger position than ever.

"The process of appointing a new Chair will begin immediately."

Hoffman also spoke about his pride at having held the role and explained the reasoning behind his decision to resign.

"It has been a privilege to lead the Premier League through the last two seasons – when the spirit of English football has been more important than ever," Hoffman said.

"Now, I have decided the time is right for me to stand aside to allow new leadership to steer the League through its next exciting phase."

Real Madrid are well-known admirers of Kylian Mbappe.

The Spanish giants have been linked with a January move for the winger.

Mbappe has indicated he will leave Paris Saint-Germain in the near future.

 

TOP STORY – REAL TO REMAIN PATIENT FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid will not chase a deal for Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe during the January transfer window, claims Mundo Deportivo.

Los Blancos have been pursuing the 22-year-old France international who is out of contract at the end of this season.

There had been speculation about when Madrid would move for Mbappe, given his contract status, but it is anticipated they will patiently wait until the off-season when he is a free agent.

ROUND-UP 

- Sky Sports Germany claims that Juventus could make a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel in January. The report claims that Witsel is keen on a quick move.

- Philippe Coutinho is set to snub cashed-up Newcastle United in January as he does not want to leave Barcelona, claims Sport.

- Barcelona are set to table a €40million offer for Red Bull Salzburg forward Karim Adeyemi according to Sport1, although Dortmund remain favourites to sign the teenager.

- Wolverhampton are ready to cash in Spanish winger Adama Traore in January with Barcelona circling to rival Liverpool for his signature, reports 90min.

- Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is not in consideration for the vacant Rangers head coaching position following Steven Gerrard's exit, reports Sky Sports.

Barcelona have accelerated a shake-up at Camp Nou by allowing technical secretary Ramon Planes to leave the club.

Planes, who was recently linked with a switch to Newcastle United, heads out of Barcelona within a fortnight of Xavi arriving as head coach.

He had a contract running through to the end of this season but will depart with immediate effect, having requested to be freed from his deal.

Barcelona said in a statement: "FC Barcelona and Ramon Planes have reached an agreement to terminate the contract that bound both parties until 30 June 2022, at the request of the man who had until now been the club's technical secretary.

"The club wishes to publicly express its gratitude to Ramon Planes for his commitment, professionalism and contributions throughout this last two years, and wishes him the best of luck and every success in the future."

Spanish sports daily Marca last week claimed there had already been contact between Planes and Newcastle, who are newly wealthy after a takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund but are also fighting a Premier League relegation battle.

Newcastle have appointed Eddie Howe as their new head coach but are seeking reinforcements to their staff elsewhere, and recruiting a man who has spent three and a half years at Barcelona would be seen as a coup, despite the LaLiga team having struggled in recent times.

Planes joined from Getafe in 2018 and was initially assistant technical secretary to Eric Abidal before taking on the lead role in August 2020.

His exit continues the process of overhauling Barcelona's football staff since Joan Laporta was elected as president in March.

The team sit ninth in LaLiga after winning just four of their opening 12 games, managing 19 goals so far from an expected goals (xG) tally of 21.03. Expected goals totals are judged by quality of chances.

Since the 2010-11 season, the point from which Opta has such records available, Barcelona have always exceeded their xG across a LaLiga season. Last term, before Lionel Messi's exit, they scored 85 goals from an xG score of 73.96.

Patience in former head coach Ronald Koeman ran out in October, paving the way for club legend Xavi to return to the club from Qatari club Al Sadd.

The departure of Planes will allow Xavi and Laporta to build their own leadership group.

Xavi is set for his first match as head coach when Barcelona host Espanyol in Saturday's derby.

Real Madrid are trying to offload a pair of veterans to Tottenham. 

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale could be on the way out at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Spurs are reportedly only interested in one of them.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS WEIGH BALE REUNION

Gareth Bale could be headed for a permanent return to Tottenham, El Nacional reports. 

Real Madrid have offered Bale and Eden Hazard to Spurs but head coach Antonio Conte is not interested in his former Chelsea player. 

However, Spurs may pounce for Bale at a reduced price before he is out of contract following the season.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are interested in adding France defender Jules Kounde to replace Harry Maguire, says Todofichajes, which reports Sevilla will demand €80million (£68m) in return. 

Donny van de Beek wants out at United, according to the Metro, and Birmingham Live says Wolves will make a strong push to sign the Dutch midfielder, with Everton and Newcastle United also rumoured suitors.

- Fiorentina are willing to sell Dusan Vlahovic in January if an interested club like Manchester City or Tottenham will pay £70m for the Serbia international, says the Sun. Vlahovic has also been linked with Bayern MunichAtletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Arsenal.

Milan have joined Chelsea and Atletico in pursuit of 17-year-old Angers striker Mohamed-Ali Cho, according to L'Equipe. 

Barcelona will extend 17-year-old Spain sensation Gavi's contract for five years, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

Dean Smith's appointment at Norwich City is expected to become official Monday, says The Guardian. 

Chelsea are not content to stick with what they have. 

The Blues are top of the Premier League but poised for major moves in January.

Three young stars and a veteran are high on their radar. 

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE REINFORCEMENTS

Chelsea have their sights set on moves for Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Lorenzo Insigne, reports Marca, while another report has them as the favourites to land Aurelien Tchouameni

The Blues are poised to revisit their talks with Sevilla over Kounde in January with multiple centre-backs set to be out of contract at the end of the season. 

Thomas Tuchel's side could also dip into Serie A and try to lure De Ligt from Juventus and Insigne from Napoli.

Chelsea are prepared to offer €60million (£51m) to Monaco for Tchouameni, says TuttoJuve, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus also possibilities. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are eyeing Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech as possible loan options from Chelsea, says Sport. 

- Manchester United are pushing to line up Zinedine Zidane to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reports The Sunday Times.

- United are prepared to sell Jesse Lingard for as little as £10m in January, says The Sun. 

- Roma are in negotiations with United over a loan deal with an option to buy Diogo Dalot, claims Corriere dello Sport. 

- Inter will bring aboard Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a four-year deal, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Newcastle United will try to land Adrien Rabiot from Juventus for €10m to €15m (£8.5m-£13m), says Calciomercato. 

Eddie Howe acknowledges the thought of spending Newcastle United's riches in January is "exciting" but his immediate focus is on getting the best out of the club's existing playing squad.

Newcastle were taken over last month by a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which became the richest football club owner in the world.

New director Amanda Staveley has spoken of targeting a Premier League title win in the next five to 10 years, with heavy investment expected to transform the team.

A host of high-profile players have been linked, including Barcelona trio Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

But Newcastle have nine Premier League fixtures to negotiate before the transfer window opens at the start of 2022 and sit five points adrift of safety in 19th place.

Howe was appointed as head coach this week but takes charge of a team winless in 11 this term, Newcastle's worst start to a league season in their history.

The four most recent examples of teams going 11 or more without a win in the Premier League ended in relegation, meaning Howe cannot afford to wait for new signings.

"That is exciting, but it's potentially far away for us," Howe told Sky Sports.

"January windows? I'm not sure, they're very unpredictable. Even to plan now is sometimes foolish, because things change at other clubs very, very quickly; players that may be available suddenly aren't available.

"We can't put our eggs in that basket, for me. If we don't get the players who are currently at this football club performing as well as they can do, it's not going to work.

"At the moment, I'm not looking at the January transfer window. All the speculation regarding players, which I've seen, is not relevant to us at this time.

"I can assure everybody my focus has been on the players we do have and will remain on the players we do have, because they're the ones that will ultimately be trying to get results for us between then and now."

One of the current Newcastle players of immediate interest to Howe is Allan Saint-Maximin, the team's talismanic winger who enjoyed a close relationship with previous coach Steve Bruce.

After two goals and three assists in his first six league games this season, Saint-Maximin is without a goal involvement in five matches – including four since the takeover was completed and three since Bruce was sacked.

Howe knows all about the player's ability, though. As Bournemouth manager, he provided the opposition for the only game in Saint-Maximin's career in which he has supplied three assists, back in July 2020 in a 4-1 Newcastle win.

"I'm really, really pleased to be working with Maxi," Howe said. "I think he's a very, very unique talent. He's a game-winner, a real difference-maker for us.

"First of all, we have to find a way to function as a team to get the best out of him. But he has to also contribute to the team – the two things go hand in hand.

"I'm really excited to try to figure out ways to play to his best levels, and his response in the two days [of training] has been excellent."

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