Eddie Howe 'hopeful' of third Newcastle United signing, with club strongly linked to Bruno Guimaraes

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has revealed the club are "close" to making their third signing of the January transfer window.

Fans have been eager to hear whether the rumours of Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes are true, but speaking from Saudi Arabia today Howe would not confirm if that is the player in question.

Reports suggest the Magpies have agreed a fee of up to £40 million with Lyon for the Brazil international, who could undergo a medical later.

Howe told the press, "There's nothing on individual players but we are hopeful we are getting close to completing a transfer. Fingers crossed we're close to getting one over the line."

The squad is out in the Middle East on a week-long warm weather training camp. They flew out after their much-needed win over Leeds on Saturday and will return to the North East tomorrow (29 January) ahead of their next Premier League fixture against Everton on 8 February.

There has been some criticism over the decision to take the team to Saudi Arabia, but the manager says, from a football perspective, the trip makes sense.

"I'm doing it to try and improve the team. Take the players away at this time of year, into a different environment, to stimulate them mentally, to forge new friendships - friendships that we're going to need in our battle to stay in the league."

Beyond the third signing Howe alluded to, the manager mentioned that he ideally wanted to get more transfers through before Monday's deadline rolls around. However, he says this window has been more difficult than most because of obstacles like Covid and Newcastle's position in the league.

He said: "I think when you add Covid to the mix when a group of 4 or 5 players can go down very quickly, a lot of clubs are tending to want to keep their players and have bigger squads this year.

"Also, our league position has been a challenge, trying to attract players to come. So I think when you add the usual restrictions when it comes to transfers, it's been a more difficult year than perhaps any other."