Steve McClaren says Mike Ashley is in ‘back seat’ at Newcastle United

Steve McClaren and Georginio Wijnaldum
Steve McClaren and Georginio Wijnaldum

Mike Ashley is taking a “back seat” at Newcastle United this summer – and letting Lee Charnley drive through the club’s transfer business.

Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba have arrived at St James’s Park so far in the transfer window.

He reiterated that he’s taking a back seat. Lee’s taking charge. We’re working well together

Steve McClaren

And the club is looking to sign up to three more players before the end of the month.

Newcastle are in the market for a striker, a winger and another defender.

QPR’s Charlie Austin is the club’s No 1 target, but the club are unwilling to meet his £15million price tag.

Head coach Steve McClaren met owner Ashley last week, but the billionaire has taken a hands-off role this summer – and left managing director Charnley to oversee the club’s transfer business.

“I met the owner last week,” said McClaren.

“He reiterated that he’s taking a back seat. Lee’s taking charge. We’re working well together.

“He’s saying that’s my job to tell him ‘we need this, we need that to improve the squad’, and we’re communicating a lot with (chief scout) Graham Carr.

“We’ve done that every week. We’ve been patient. We’ve got three in.

“Will there be any more? I do not know.

“Are we pursuing? Are we looking? Of course. We’re always looking to improve our team and our squad. I can’t tell you anything concrete at this stage.

“As you know, things happen in the next two weeks.”

A number of players, including Mike Williamson and Mehdi Abeid, are expected to leave St James’s Park this month, though McClaren insists the club has had no bids.

Asked about outgoings, McClaren said: “Again, I couldn’t tell you anything where other people are.

“We have what we have. There are no enquiries. We’ve got the squad, and we’ve needed that squad in the games we’ve had.