Arsenal are ready to wreck Newcastle United’s hopes of brokering a permanent move for Loic Remy – and hand them a fresh striker headache this summer.
The Journal understands that the Gunners have made preliminary contact with Remy’s camp in the last month to ascertain his intentions, mirroring moves that Newcastle have made to try to bring forward negotiations about a possible £9m move in the close season.
Arsenal scouts have been keeping a close eye on Remy’s progress since the start of the season, and the North London club believe they can persuade Remy to turn his back on a move to the North East by offering him Champions League football next season.
That would come as a bitter blow to Newcastle, who have pencilled in both Remy and Luuk de Jong as possible close-season recruits to cover for likely departees Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse, who continues to attract interest from Russia ahead of their late February transfer deadline.
United invited Remy to the table before the January transfer window, but the deal was not done as the striker prefers to assess his options at the end of a campaign that is likely to see him head to Brazil with France in the summer.
Newcastle have made no secret of their desire to try to strike a deal for the forward, but boss Alan Pardew admitted in January that a move for Remy would be “complicated”.
The waters may also be muddied by QPR’s own desire to keep Remy – provided they complete the job of achieving promotion into the Premier League.
Back in January, Pardew said: “The plan was always that he would be on loan for the year and we had a deal with QPR that that would be the case.
“We would like to do it permanently but there is a long way until that happens.
“It is not quite as simple as (meeting his release clause) as the player and his agents need to make sure it is right for the player and we have to honour that.”
Newcastle face a major rebuilding operation this summer which has been complicated by speculation surrounding the future of boss Pardew and even Mike Ashley’s future intentions.
While the club was briefing over the weekend that it continues to be “business as usual” – indeed the Magpies are on course for the pre-season target of 10th place that was set for Pardew before the season started – there can be no doubt that they have several major issues to resolve in the coming months.
As well as Pardew’s own future they are likely to need an entirely new strikeforce, and it is understood that Ameobi’s representatives are starting to source alternative options for a striker who has been at St James’ Park for more than a decade.
The latest possible destination for Ameobi is China, with reports emerging that Sven Goran Eriksson would like to take the forward to his new club Guangzhou R&F. The transfer deadline in China is on Friday, February 28 and a move may be attempted before then.
A more likely outcome is that Ameobi, who has been given absolutely no indication that he will be given a new contract at the end of the campaign, will leave in the close season to give Newcastle more recruitment business to do.
Meanwhile, Pardew has hit back again at suggestions that the club has nothing left to play for and has insisted that they have to rouse themselves for the final 12 fixtures of the Premier League season.
“We have 12 games left and we have to maximise as many points as we can. At the minute we are in a terrible run,” he admitted.