Newcastle United have defended their lack of spending in the transfer window and say claims money has been taken out of the club are “wholly untrue”.
Fans were critical that midfielder Joe Willock was the only major signing, at a cost of over £20m, while other Premier League clubs spent more.
But in a long statement, the club said Covid-19 had affected its finances.
It also said it is run in a “sustainable manner” but not “at the expense of being ambitious”.
Claiming it had a net spend of £120m on players since the summer of 2019 – £160m spent and £40m in sales – it added that Newcastle are “built on the core principle that we will spend what we have”.
But supporters have complained that despite Willock’s signing from Arsenal, rivals such as West Ham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Norwich have been far more active in the summer transfer window.
A poor start to the season for Steve Bruce’s team has not helped the mood on Tyneside as the club are still in search of a first league win, while the ongoing saga of a failed takeover and fans wanting owner Mike Ashley to leave has added uncertainty.
Matters were crystallised on transfer deadline day when attempts to sign Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury on loan fell through despite the fact Willock’s transfer fee was paid in instalments, which the club admitted in its statement.
Newcastle also explained that Covid-19 had been a key factor in its finances.
They said: “In a ‘normal’ year, our operating model would generate sufficient funds to enable us to make one or two quality first-team additions, as well as investing in other areas.
“The last two years have been challenging, with Covid-19 having a considerable impact on the club’s finances and therefore the amount of cash we have available to spend.
“Internally, all parties have long been aware of the budgetary parameters under which we are operating.”
It also said that once Willock was signed, “there was a shared understanding that further additions to the playing squad would be heavily influenced by player trading, both in terms of available funds and space in the squad”.
Defending their recent spending, which included a club record £40m on forward Joelinton in 2019, and citing a report which claims the club’s net spend was the 10th highest in the Premier League, the club said: “Since summer 2019, the club has made nine permanent signings and taken five players on loan.
“Our net spend over this period is about £120m* [£160m spent on players and £40m received from sales].
“We have delivered on our commitment to spending what we have, and indeed because of our business this summer, have spent more to secure our primary target.
“To suggest otherwise is misleading and claims that money has been taken out of the club are wholly untrue.”
The Magpies said they also wanted to underline how “the club retained its best players despite the obvious financial challenges”.
They added: “We ask all our loyal supporters to get behind their team, because we are stronger together.”
Bruce’s side sit fourth bottom of the Premier League with one point, and face Manchester United at Old Trafford after the international break on Saturday, 11 September.