Eddie Howe has refused to give any guarantee that Newcastle will spend in January - as their hunt for a Director of Football drags on.
The Newcastle boss says it is “difficult” to say whether the club - supposedly now the richest in the world with Saudi Arabian wealth fund backing - will strengthen next month.
Newcastle are without a win all season - and are bottom of the league, six points plus goal difference adrift from Premier League safety.
Yet Howe today refused to “make rash promises” on whether his squad would be bolstered.
Newcastle have been linked with a series of top players since the Saudi’s took over last month, but progress behind the scenes has been slow.
Image:Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
But in an alarming admission Howe said this morning: “It is very difficult to make any promises… that we will definitely spend money and sign players.
“You have to attract the players, the players have to want to come, they have to be the right players and they have to improve your squad.
“That is why, as everyone knows, January is an incredibly difficult window to recruit players, especially when your league position is difficult.
“So I can’t make any promises on that. I can promise that the owners and those above me will support me and the team in trying to do what we need.
“But yes that is all I can say. It would be foolish of me to make rash promises and statements. My priority is getting the best out of the players we have.”
Who will Newcastle sign in January? Comment here
Howe also disagreed with former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez who used to say the current squad could get the balance right between attack and defending.
Benitez said Newcastle had a “short blanket” - when the attacked it left the defence exposed.
But Howe said: “I don’t believe in copying Rafa’s statement.
“Stretching the blanket would be a better way of putting it. Coaching and educating and helping the players.
“I don’t think there is any limitation on what we can achieve with the group of players that we have here. We have to improve performances and results. When confidence returns we will see a different team. Attack and defending balance is difficult for any team.”
Newcastle are the only team in the top four divisions without a win and have conceded 29 goals in 13 games.
This week will be crucial for their survival hopes, with home games against Norwich and Burnley, who keep them company in the bottom three. Jamal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie are suspended.
Howe added: “We are aware how important these games are. It is dangerous to look too far ahead.
“I will be using various things with the players to galvanise us. They don’t need extra motivation.
“They are hurting and are proud professionals. They want to win. They are trying, and we are trying, 100pc of our capabilities, to improve results.
“There is a bit of confidence and a bit of luck missing this season. There are games they could have won.”
Howe is staying positive based on the chances his attacking line up can create - although Allan Saint-Maximum played almost as an extra left back in the defeat to Arsenal and needs to be released.
Asked about when a Sporting Director might arrive, amid reports an appointment has been delayed until after January, Howe said: “I think to get a structure we want is important for the long term benefit of the club.
“It is something I know the club is looking at. When they believe they have identified the right people that will happen. At the moment I am happy working the way we are. Everything in time will take care of itself.”
Howe added: “It’s a huge challenge ahead. I was aware of the fixture list in December. I was aware of everything before coming in. I have been boosted by the players, their reaction to us, their attitude every day
“If we stay united together I know we can achieve good things together and achieve our aim, but we have to start winning soon to justify that belief.”