Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe rarely speaks about transfer targets but has admitted his liking both Jesse Lingard, who has stayed at Manchester United, and Dele Alli, now at Everton.
Left on the fringes in Manchester so far this season, Lingard was one of Howe's top targets during the window. In the end, however, the 28-year-old was not allowed to leave Old Trafford.
Newcastle continued to try to secure a deal with the player, who had already agreed terms, until the final day of the window, before the plug was pulled by the Red Devils.
Howe has taken to not talking about any possible targets during his tenure at Newcastle, but following the end of the transfer window, he couldn't help admitting his liking for Lingard.
"Jesse Lingard is a player I have always admired. And that's probably the best thing to say," he said.
Howe was also asked about Dele - who joined Everton from Tottenham Hotspur on deadline day, despite late interest from Newcastle and Howe.
“All I’ll say on Dele is he is a player I’ve admired and liked for many, many years, obviously tracked his progress from MK Dons through to what he’s done at Tottenham and the national team.
“He’s a top player.” he said when asked if he could have being playing in Newcastle colours rather than in the blue of Everton.
The spotlight on Newcastle's attempts to bring in another attacking player has increased over ongoing issues with Callum Wilson, whose Achilles injury could sideline him until May.
“It’s been slow progress for him since the initial injury,” admitted the boss.
“He’s been recently on crutches, although I think he’s come off those crutches now and is walking normally, which is a big step. Bbt you can see by that update that it’s quite slow.
“We all wish Callum to come back as quickly as possible, but when he comes back, he’s got to be fit and ready to give his best. We’re helping him with that day to day, but I don’t think it’s going to be short term. Hopefully, he can make the last few games of the season and really help us in the key moment.”