Eddie Howe accepts Newcastle United are now being viewed differently in the transfer window due to their success on the field this season.
United are riding the crest of a wave after defeating Southampton 3-1 on aggregate in the EFL Cup semi-finals this week to reach their first major final since 1999.
The Magpies are also third in the Premier League ahead of facing West Ham this weekend, having lost just one game all season – and none of their past 15 since late August.
Newcastle, the world’s richest club, added £45million midfielder Anthony Gordon to their squad in January, but Howe says negotiating fees is becoming more difficult.
Asked if his side are now seen as a “threat”, Howe said: “That’s your word, not mine. But yes, I think you’re on the right lines. I think it is potentially difficult for us.”
Howe also confirmed Gordon, who forced through a move from Premier League strugglers Everton, is in contention to make his debut at St James’ Park on Saturday.
“He will thrive in this environment with the positivity he’s shown,” Howe said. “He’s going to need that after a difficult last few months.
“For him to feel good again and release the pressure will be really positive for us.”
While Newcastle are enjoying a season to remember, West Ham are 16th and just one point above the drop zone, though they did beat Everton 2-0 last time out in the league.
West Ham followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Derby County in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and boss David Moyes is hopeful his side have turned a corner this year.
“We’ve had a couple of really good results. The win against Derby in the cup was another boost to us,” he said. “We also kept a clean sheet which goes well.
“But I think when you’re fighting for results, you’re looking for positives everywhere you can. We got a great win against Everton a week or so ago.
“We want to build on it, we want to get that momentum, we want to try and charge on.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Newcastle – Nick Pope
Newcastle may have conceded against Southampton in midweek, but they have kept eight clean sheets in 10 matches since the World Cup break. That is in large down to goalkeeper Pope, who has kept a clean sheet in each of his past six Premier League appearances – no Englishman has kept seven in a row before.
West Ham – Michail Antonio
Maxwel Cornet, Gianluca Scamacca and Danny Ings are all ruled out, so Moyes may well turn to Antonio – a player many expected to leave last month – to lead the visitors’ line. Antonio has scored one and assisted another in his last two appearances in all competitions, showing that he is still an important player for West Ham.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Since losing 3-0 and 2-0 against West Ham in the 2018-19 season, Newcastle have scored in each of their past six Premier League meetings with the Hammers, losing just once (W3 D2).
– West Ham won this exact fixture 4-2 last season, last winning consecutive away league games against Newcastle in October 1998. They have scored 11 goals in their past four league visits to the Magpies, as many as they had in their previous 14 at St James’ Park.
– Three of Newcastle’s past four Premier League games have ended 0-0. Indeed, they have had six goalless draws overall this season, their joint-most in a single Premier League campaign (also 1994-95).
– West Ham are looking for back-to-back Premier League wins for just the second time this season, following their 2-0 win against Everton last time out. However, they are winless in their past eight on the road (D2 L6), since a 1-0 win at Aston Villa in August.
– Newcastle have kept a competition-high 12 Premier League clean sheets this season, which is their most in a single top-flight campaign since 2011-12 (15). They have kept a clean sheet in each of their past six Premier League games – the last side to keep seven in a row with an English manager at the helm were Steve McClaren’s Middlesbrough in December 2003.