Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has insisted the process for signing players is the same whether they shop in the basement or in high-end stores.
The Magpies smashed their record transfer fee on Friday when they agreed a £58m deal for 22-year-old Swedish international striker from Real Sociedad Alexander Isak, taking their spending since the club’s new owners took the reins for around £210million.
This is all a far cry from Howe’s early days at Bournemouth, when he operated on a shoestring budget and needed to develop the players he already had, but he’s adamant he still does recruitment the same way.
Asked about the contrast, the 44-year-old said: “I feel exactly the same, to be honest.
“When I started, we were looking for free transfers, players without a contract, but you always try to find the right person for your team. You try to find the right characters that will benefit the group. Then you have to mold those players around the team.
“It doesn’t change, the process is exactly the same. What changes is everyone’s perception because you’re spending a lot of money on a player, but the process doesn’t change.
“You always have to find the right player and you have to visualize that player in your team, performing and what he will bring.
“So the money, really, is irrelevant. It’s the media spotlight that makes the big difference.
Isak, the club’s fourth summer acquisition after Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Sven Botman, could get his first chance to impress Wolves on Sunday with Callum Wilson in the treatment room once again.
His fee dwarfs the £40million Newcastle paid Hoffenheim for Joelinton in the summer of 2019 and, while Howe admits some discomfort in the ever-escalating transfer market, he won’t be spending on the fun of spend.
When asked if Isak’s price represented good value for money, he said: “I definitely feel responsible for the price, it certainly wouldn’t be about signing a player at all costs. I don’t don’t think that’s the right way to go.
“It’s an amazing market and I could never sit down and say I think it’s good value just with the price. But when you look at the market I think it’s a good business for us, otherwise I wouldn’t have pushed hard to try to do it.
“Transfer pricing is out of any kind of realism compared to when I was playing, but you just have to adapt to the times. If you don’t adapt to the times and don’t deal with it, then you are not improving.