Given Newcastle’s vast resources, and the fact that Champions League football is coming to St James’ Park next season, it may be tempting to think that big spending will commence in the North-East when the transfer window opens. 

After all, this is a club that now has a platform to break into the elite and remain there, and with the funds to do precisely that surely a statement signing or two can be expected in the summer?

Who knows, maybe a superstar whose securement would make the back pages of every publication on the news-stand.

The reality of their situation, however, is slightly different, with FFP restricting their spending and keeping them in check.

As for the lucrative rewards of playing in the Champions League, they won’t emerge for a season or two yet, certainly not straight away.

So Eddie Howe, after over-achieving on the Magpies’ Premier League odds and guiding his team to a top four finish, went into a series of meetings with the club’s hierarchy this week and was informed of Newcastle’s budget, a figure that is reportedly just north of £100m. 

That isn’t pocket change of course and will allow the club to strengthen a squad that is strong at its core but weak around the edges.

Still though, considering their expansive ambitions – and impatience to become a major player on the continental stage – it will require a good deal of shrewdness to be deployed in the market, a bargain or two picked up if possible.

Thankfully, for Newcastle, Howe was already pertinently aware of these limitations, which is why he attempted to manage expectations from the fans prior to having his budget confirmed.

“We aren’t going to have a bottomless pit,” he said when asked about the forthcoming window.

And by being made aware of this in advance, Howe will have already identified his targets accordingly, with an affordable midfielder topping his priorities.

It surprised many Newcastle fans that a shortfall in this area in terms of numbers wasn’t addressed back in January, with greater creativity needed if only to take the strain off Bruno Guimaraes.

Furthermore, a midfield creative would allow their Brazilian to drop deeper as a number six, a role many believe he will excel at. 

From a wealth of options, it seems like two names are underlined and bolded on Newcastle’s shopping list, those players being Leicester City’s James Maddison – who has long been linked with the club – and RB Leipzig’s brilliant Hungarian, Dominik Szoboszlai.

Newcastle target Dominik Szoboszlai

Does Leicester’s recent relegation make Maddison more attainable?

That’s very likely, and yet it’s Szoboszlai who most appeals by all accounts, the 22-year-old’s £61m release clause and realistic wage demands making him a favourite to sign in the coming weeks. 

Scouts have been watching him on a game-by-game basis while the player recently put up a social media post celebrating Newcastle’s guarantee of Champions League football. 

Where Leicester’s relegation does become a factor concerns another English midfielder entirely, with Harvey Barnes now rumoured to be available.

The future of Allan Saint-Maximin remains up in the air and Howe is a long-time admirer of the industrious left winger who would be an impactful replacement for a fee that wouldn’t break the bank.

Elsewhere, Newcastle’s stingy defence will need adding to and this explains their interest in Ferdi Kalioglu. Not only is the 23-year-old Fenerbahce right-back ready to make the step up, his £20m price-tag amounts to a steal. 

Should the Magpies bring in genuine quality to improve their midfield options, and bolster their back-line too, we can expect their Premier League winner odds to shorten as a consequence. 

This is a club going places and they have every intention of investing heavily to ensure that happens.

For now though, ready-made superstars are off-limits, and they have to shop on the high street just like everyone else, being clever about it.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*

Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.