HOLLAND left-back Erik Pieters is interested in moving to Newcastle United this summer.
Pieters’ agent Piet van Der Pol has revealed to The Journal that the versatile left-back would be keen to link up with Dutch team-mate and friend Tim Krul if United follow up their long-standing interest in him this summer.
The club are yet to open formal negotiations with either PSV Eindhoven or the player himself but he is understood to be one of the names in the frame as United look to bolster their defensive options. Newcastle have grasped the initiative in the Champions League chase and with four games to go, there is a sense of excitement and possibility at St James’ Park.
But while Alan Pardew is concentrating on what the current squad need to do, efforts continue in the background to strengthen for next season.
The Journal understands that United are in advanced negotiations with at least two targets, and could be in a position to unveil at least one in the weeks after the season ends.
But Newcastle’s charge towards the Champions League opens up a variety of new possibilities, and they will hold fire until their fate is sealed before making definitive moves.
The club are understood to be targeting a left-back and right-back and Pieters is a long-term target of Newcastle’s, he has been on their radar for two years. In a positive development, The Journal can reveal that the defender would be keen to talk to United about a move – if they re-ignite their interest.
Pieters is currently out of action after suffering a stress fracture of a foot bone that will rule him out for three weeks and has put his participation in Euro 2012 in jeopardy.
Regardless, van Der Pol has revealed to The Journal that Pieters would welcome the opportunity to talk to “fantastic” United.
“He was interested last year,” he said. “Newcastle United is a fantastic club and I know that Erik follows them because of his friendship with Tim Krul.
“If they come in for Erik of course he will be interested in talking to them, but right now the main thing that he is focused on is getting fit for Euro 2012. Newcastle have done tremendously this season and I know that there are a lot of players who would like to join them.”
Pieters was close to a move to Tyneside last season, but the delay in former United left-back Jose Enrique’s switch to Liverpool held up negotiations.
Although Newcastle swooped for Davide Santon in the end, they retained an interest in Pieters too – who can fill in at centre-back as well as on the left of defence.
Consideration was given to re-igniting that interest in January, but Pieters was coming back from a long-term injury and United erred on the side of caution.
It remains to be seen whether they will make another move – and van Der Pol acknowledges that there may be other interest in his client.
“There’s no talks going on at the moment. The last time we spoke to Newcastle was last August,” he revealed.
“They have not talked to us or to PSV Eindhoven at this time and his main focus is on trying to be fit for the Euros, then we will see what happens. Who knows who will come in for Erik this summer?”
Newcastle’s summer options include FC Twente defender Douglas and on-loan Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who belongs to Hoffenheim.
United have also been linked with a move for Barnsley’s England under-21 midfielder Jacob Butterfield, who is out of contract in the summer. Newcastle have watched him but it seems talk of some-thing being imminent is premature.
Tykes boss Keith Hill urged United to either move for him or move on over the weekend.
“I know that teams are 100% trying to recruit Jacob. I’d endorse Newcastle actually making a decision,” Hill said.