ALAN Pardew was last night hopeful of finalising his first significant pre-season signing after Ajax admitted Vurnon Anita is set for a move to Newcastle.
The 23-year-old, who can play in midfield or at left-back, is expected to agree personal terms after both clubs agreed a fee of £6million.
Despite getting some success at long last in terms of signings, Newcastle manager Pardew took a swipe at football’s greed, which he blamed for his lack of activity in the transfer market.
However, after losing out on Luuk de Jong and with the much-anticipated Mathieu Debuchy deal still to be done, the Magpies boss will have at least one new face in his squad before the Tottenham game this Saturday. Anita, named alongside Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul in the Holland squad to face Belgium on Wednesday, made what is likely to be his last appearance for the Eredivisie champions in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with AZ Alkmaar at the Amsterdam Arena.
Ajax manager Frank de Boer admitted: “Anita is close to an agreement with Newcastle.”
And that is as good as saying the transfer is signed, sealed and delivered. This is a timely boost for Pardew who is far from alone at feeling frustrated at not being able to finalise deals because a target’s valuation has astronomically soared once it has become known a big club wanted to buy him – de Jong being the prime example of that.
It has, in fact, been a relatively quiet summer transfer window so far for most clubs, big and small, although Pardew expects there to be a flurry of activity this week across the football world.
Asked why he thought the market had been so slow to get moving, Pardew said: “It’s valuation. Not just by the players themselves, but by the clubs and the agents.
“This is the big problem we have as managers and also chairman in the Premier League.
“The valuation agents are putting on their player is far, far too much. They need to understand that times have changed.”
With four players carrying knocks – Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini – the manager could do with some reinforcements. Pardew said: “Am I hopeful something can be done? I think it is touch and go, really.
“There are one or two things that might happen. Obviously, that’s not my department. I have targeted the players and we hope they arrive, but if they don’t then I do believe we still have a very strong side that will go in against Tottenham. You ask any Premier League manager, outside of Chelsea probably, and they will say the same thing. Even Manchester United haven’t done much business.
“Nobody else has really. I think everyone is biding their time before pitching in. However, I do think the ball will roll this week and there will be players joining Premier League teams for sure.”