CHRIS Hughton will seek urgent talks with Spanish misfit Xisco to try and secure a permanent transfer to Primera Liga outfit Racing Santander.
Xisco is officially a United player again after the Spanish season ended last weekend, but the £5.7million flop has indicated a desire to stay in Santander next season – something that Hughton admits is for the best after his miserable Magpies career.
Now the Tyneside club will seek to push a deal through over the summer, with Newcastle braced for a big loss on the former Spain Under-21 international.
Xisco scored three times in 23 games in the Primera Liga as he helped his loan club stay in the Spanish top flight with a 2-0 defeat of Sporting Gijon on the last day of the season. It is a result that should make it easier for United to broker a deal, although Racing Santander have yet to indicate whether they will be pursuing a permanent move.
Although the player appears to have no future in England, Hughton stressed that the door is not shut on the 23-year-old – and said he would be expected to return to Tyneside if a new club can’t be found.
Xisco, signed above then manager Kevin Keegan’s head in a move that helped prompt his exit, has a five-year contract at Newcastle but was clearly affected by the turmoil at the club in his first season. He has played just seven times since signing, scoring once.
“He’s our player again now because the Spanish season has finished but Xisco has shown his desire to go back to Spain on a permanent basis,” Hughton told The Journal. “I think he’d like to stay (at
Racing Santander) and I think that is understandable because it hasn’t really worked for him here.
“It is something we will now have to work on. We’ve not heard anything from Racing Santander yet about whether they want to keep him, but we obviously have to look for a solution now and we’ll be contacting them.
“We will talk to Xisco and Racing Santander and look at the options that we have but if nothing is sorted out, then he will return to us for pre-season.
“We intend to do everything right and we will expect him back if for whatever reason a deal doesn’t go through.”
Meanwhile, Hughton admits the club are still some way off making their first breakthrough in the transfer market after scotching reports linking them with released West Brom midfielder Robert Koren and Racing Lens striker Toifilou Maoulida.
Reports in France claimed that 30-year-old Maoulida, who was linked with West Ham and Stoke in the January transfer window, was in ‘advanced negotiations’ with United – but Hughton said there was no truth in those reports.
And he also insisted there was nothing in reported interest in Slovenia international Koren, who West Brom surprisingly released earlier this week.
Hughton is working behind the scenes to secure signings and has concentrated his efforts on France, but United are mainly looking at players under 25 to supplement their Championship-winning squad.
“There will be plenty of names mentioned but I think we’re still a little way off signing anyone yet,” Hughton revealed.
There was personal glory for the Newcastle boss yesterday when he picked up an award from anti-racism organisation Kick It Out to recognise his achievements at St James’ Park this term.
Hughton said one of the secrets to his success was improving the dressing room atmosphere.
“One thing we’ve always tried to have is a good environment at the training ground and that makes it easier,” he said.
“As the season’s gone on, the feel-good factor has come back, and that goes for everyone involved in the club. When things are going well at the club, it’s a lively and busy place.”