Joe Kinnear’s first day at St James’ Park saw the club agree to let versatile midfielder James Perch leave Newcastle.
Kinnear was in Newcastle for the first time since his appointment yesterday and met Magpies secretary Lee Charnley as the club plotted the next move in their bid to bring in high-calibre attacking reinforcements. But the first move was to agree to let the popular Perch leave, having earmarked youngster Gael Bigirimana and Holland international Vurnon Anita as possible candidates for his midfield role next year.
The Journal understands the club have passed up on the chance to sign former target William Vainqueur, the former France under-21 midfielder, who was considering buying out the final three years of his Standard Liege contract. Newcastle have regularly watched the player and were credited with an interest in January, but decided not to follow up their interest this month.
“There is no interest from Newcastle,” his agent Meissa N’Diaye confirmed to The Journal .
“The question of whether he would be interested in the club is not relevant as they have not approached him.” Reports in Belgium last night claimed he would renew his deal with the Belgian club.
That is despite Perch’s imminent departure – which has been hastened by a ï¿½700,000 offer from Wigan. The Journal understands that Perch had wanted to stay at Newcastle and boss Alan Pardew had pressed for him to be given a new deal back in March, but owner Mike Ashley decided not to offer him a new contract.
Wigan’s offer was tabled to United yesterday morning, but Newcastle are ready to wait for other interest to emerge in the hope of sparking a mini-bidding war. Other Championship clubs have enquired about a player who played 81 times for Newcastle and won around his doubters after a shaky start under Chris Hughton.
His departure creates vacancies for boss Pardew, who will return to Newcastle at the end of the week as United’s players filter back for pre-season training.
Their first training session is scheduled for Saturday but a third of the players will be back tomorrow for medical tests.
The internationals in the squad – including Yohan Cabaye and returning skipper Fabricio Coloccini – will not return until the back end of next week. Kinnear’s presence, however, is telling. The club have built their new director of football an office at St James’ Park and he will also be a presence on the training ground as he gets on with his remit of trying to bridge the gap between Newcastle’s reserves and youth team and the first XI, which Ashley thinks is too wide.
One player already back on the training ground is Tim Krul, who is looking forward to a much brighter season next season – both personally and for the club.
His bold prediction is that Newcastle will be fighting in the upper echelons of the Premier League again after learning the lessons from their brush with relegation last term.
He thinks the lack of European football this year will be key.
“Being able to train for a full week will make a big difference,” the goalkeeper said.
“We won't have any Europa League games next season and that does have an impact on the training as well as the freshness of the squad.
“Next season we'll be right up there, I have no doubt about that.”