Newcastle United already have one eye on the summer transfer window – as fans wait for a January breakthrough.
“We’re working hard at the moment on staying very much in contact with the market, and doing a lot of work, but we’re not imminently close to signing anybody at the moment,” said Howe.
“We’re not actively bidding for players at the moment. It’s a watching brief, currently.”
United, third in the Premier League and in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, are constrained by financial fair play rules after spending more than £200million in the last two transfer windows.
And Howe – who recruited five players last January – spoke about the “difficulties” of recruiting in the mid-season window ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League home game against Fulham.
“The bigger challenge for January is it’s not the ideal time to recruit,” said United’s head coach. “There’s a much smaller pool of players available, potentially prices are higher as well, because there is a smaller availability.
“Not many teams want to make drastic changes to their squad, that’s why recruitment, in that month, can sometimes be very difficult.
“Last year, I thought we did exceptionally well in a difficult month, but, this month, we’re in a different position. We want to add real quality to the group. If we’re going to do anything, it’s very much got to be the right player.”
Newcastle’s business this month could be influenced by injuries, and Howe – who admitted last week his his squad was “light on numbers” – says the club’s recruitment team are looking at what’s available for every position.
Asked if he had a fixed idea of what he wanted this month, Howe said: “I think we’re looking at all positions.
“I know that’s not the answer you want. We are very much casting our eye over all positions, because you know things can change so quickly.
“Yeah, there’s possibly one or two areas of the squad that I would look at and go ‘we’re probably lighter in that area than others’, but, as always, I like to keep these things internal.”