NEWCASTLE United have already fielded a flood of enquiries from Championship clubs about taking some of their emerging stars on loan next season.
United will let Nile Ranger, Brad Inman, Fraser Forster and Ryan Donaldson all go out on temporary deals to further their development next season – and even though it is only the second week of the summer break it has already prompted a rush of calls.
Ranger and Forster are interesting newly-promoted Leeds United, while Norwich have also enquired about taking Newcastle’s young goalkeeper back to Carrow Road for another season.
Having been delighted with Forster’s impact, the Canaries boss Paul Lambert is also understood to have also asked to be kept up to speed on Ranger’s situation.
Inman and Donaldson, on international duty with the Scotland and England under-19s respectively, have also attracted interest from Championship and League One clubs.
Hughton plans to check the progress of all four in the early weeks of pre-season before allowing them to leave – possibly on a season-long loan.
Although bringing in a more experienced hitman to replace former Newcastle target Jermaine Beckford is their priority, Leeds have emerged as possible suitors for Ranger.
Any move to Elland Road would resurrect a deal first mooted in January.
The 19-year-old striker was offered to Leeds on loan as part of a proposed deal for Beckford in the transfer window, although that transfer collapsed because of the Yorkshire club’s desperation to cling on to the striker.
The number of calls Hughton has received about the talented quartet is a further indication of the burgeoning reputation of United’s Academy – pin-pointed as a key part of the club’s five-year plan in the statement released by the club’s hierarchy a fortnight ago.
Inman, 18, is one of those who is being tipped for big things and believes United’s new approach in the transfer market may leave the door ajar for him.
He said: “There has been a buzz around the whole city this season with us getting promoted. There has been talk of Newcastle down-sizing and not spending as much money.
“Maybe that will help me break into the first team.
“It has been a great season for me. The under-18s reached the semis of the FA Youth Cup and I have played a lot for the reserves. I was even on the bench for the first team in a Carling Cup game.
“Hopefully, next season I can push on more.
“The gaffer Chris Hughton and first-team coach Colin Calderwood want to involve me in pre-season friendlies to see if I can handle the step up.”
Meanwhile, there will be no windfall for Newcastle from any potential move from Aston Villa involving former United midfielder James Milner after the player’s agent Mick McGuire confirmed there was no sell-on clause included in the £12million deal which took him to Villa Park in August 2008.
Manchester City have had a £20million bid rejected for the England utility man this week.
Fabricio Coloccini says he will be Argentina’s ‘number one fan’ despite missing out on Diego Maradona’s final 23-man squad.
The Newcastle defender was devastated not to make the cut, having been named in his country’s preliminary selection of 30 players, but says his fine season with Newcastle eases the pain.
He said: “Luckily, my environment keeps me calm because things have gone very well in England with Newcastle United and everything is possible.
“Once I get beyond this hard time, I will be Argentina’s number one fan and I hope we come out champions.
“Like any player would be, I am sad about this decision.
“However, I give all my support to these players to take Argentina to the top of the world.
“We should not be selfish and that is why I wish the best to the guys. It is the coach’s decision.”
Cult hero Coloccini at least has Premier League football to look forward to when he returns from his now extended summer break.
He added: “Every player knows the Premier League is a fantastic place to play. It was a terrible feeling to be relegated, but I always wanted to stay here.”