NEWCASTLE United are hopeful of making Crystal Palace forward Victor Moses their sixth capture of the January transfer window but face intense competition to sign the teenager.
On another busy day at St James’ Park, United clinched loan deals for QPR defender Fitz Hall and Chelsea youngster Patrick van Aanholt yesterday as well as lodging an improved bid for Palace striker Moses. That is understood to be around the £2million asking price with United now waiting to hear back from Crystal Palace’s administrators, who have also received bids from West Brom and Nottingham Forest.
United are confident they are a bigger draw than their Championship promotion rivals but the situation would be complicated by Premier League suitors West Ham, Stoke and Fulham firming up their interest with bids – while the distance from the player’s foster parents could also work against Newcastle.
Hughton was surprisingly upbeat when questioned about Moses yesterday, going much further than he has when previously talking about potential transfer targets, and The Journal understands that there is cautious optimism their bid and contract offer will be
enough to bring the 19-year-old to Tyneside, with the club prepared to more than double his Palace wages.
United were offered further encouragement by Moses’ agent Tony Finnegan last night, who said Moses had been “impressed” by the set up at St James’ Park.
“He went there on Wednesday and was impressed by the stadium and the fact there were 40,000 odd for a midweek game. Obviously that made an impression on Victor,” he told The Journal.
“We’re all just waiting for the administrators’ next move now.”
At his pre-match press conference yesterday, Hughton was fulsome in his praise of Moses, who has moved ahead of James Vaughan as the club’s priority striking target. “It’s been documented that we are very interested in signing the lad,” he said.
“Most people are also aware of the circumstances with Crystal Palace and the situation they are in, and we hope to make progress on that over the next couple of days.
“It’s one we have a very, very keen interest in.
“He is a player who has an ability to score goals. There is power and pace, but it is his potential.
“Around what we are trying to do here this season, which is the most important thing, there also has to be an eye on the future – and he is certainly a player of wonderful potential.” Capturing Moses would round off a successful transfer window for United, who travel to Leicester City for a televised clash this afternoon.
Hughton moved quickly to address injuries to key men Steven Taylor and Jose Enrique by signing Hall and van Aanholt yesterday.
Enrique will not play until mid-February, while Hughton confirmed Taylor will miss two months of action with a knee injury.
“Fitz is very good on the ground and has got good pace. He’s also a big, strong lad and I’m very pleased that we have him until the end of the season,” he said.
“I certainly liked what I saw that night (Patrick van Aanholt playing for Coventry against us). I’ve also heard a lot of good things about him and is a player who is very highly thought of at Chelsea.” The United boss also confirmed that Geremi is expected to depart St James’ Park before the end of the window, with the player in advanced discussions with Turkish club Ankaragucu.
But he ruled out any further outgoings before Monday’s transfer deadline.
“At this moment we are just waiting for final clarification. The indications are that Geremi will go and he has been talking (to Ankaragücü),” he said.
“No one else is leaving. That was something I was always very confident of and I think I had the feeling that here with this group of lads, there is no one who wants to go.”