James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic are set to lead the summer clear-out of Newcastle United’s fringe men – with Gael Bigirimana also heading for the St James’ Park exit.
The Journal understands the names of defender Tavernier and forward Vuckic, who have been sent to Rotherham United on loan, have been circulated to Championship and League One clubs in the last few weeks as Alan Pardew tries to kick-start his summer rebuilding job.
Tavernier has performed well for the Millers as they made the League One play-offs and there is understood to be interest from the South Yorkshire club in keeping him if they are promoted.
He has one year left on his deal but Newcastle have told him to look elsewhere for opportunities – along with Vuckic, who has been less of a regular starter for the League One side.
At meetings with Mike Ashley before the recent criticism aimed at him, Pardew was told any money made from sales would be re-invested during a summer expected to see the biggest recruitment drive since 2011. That means there is a renewed vigour about moving on players who have not figured and Bigirimana, whose star has waned this season after a bright start to his Newcastle career, is also likely to move on.
His name has also been mentioned to clubs in the second tier, with Nottingham Forest, Ipswich and Reading all alerted to his availability.
The former Coventry City midfielder has been jinxed with injuries this season and has made just one appearance for the senior side – in a Capital One Cup tie against Morecambe in the first weeks of the season.
The 20-year-old has stagnated this campaign and was being offered out on loan – but there were surprisingly no takers.
The midfielder spoke recently of his “frustration” at slipping down the pecking order and his last high-profile appearance in black and white was for the under-21s in the Northumberland Senior Cup final, which ended with a goal and a winner’s medal. He said then: “I’m not going to lie – it’s been frustrating. I’d rather be with the first team but I’m here to help the club in any way.
“If that is to be with the reserves
and work with the young players the club are trying to promote, that’s fine by me.
One of those who has been lightly involved of late is Steven Taylor, but he returned to the fray with a goal in the defeat of Cardiff and insists he is looking to next season and the prospect of “bouncing up” with the Magpies.
His late goal was a re-introduction for a centre-back who has made just ten appearances this season – and only two since February.
As one of the higher earners at the club it is difficult to see Newcastle retaining him if he is so infrequently involved, but the centre-back insists he does not want to leave.
He said: “Hopefully, next season, we will bounce up and get even better. I’m under contract for another two years.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me – that Man City game (sent off in the opening game) killed me but I am looking forward to the Liverpool game and then kick on next season.”
Taylor’s reaction when he netted the late third goal jarred with the overall mood of the stadium on Saturday but he insisted it was borne of delight at ending a frustrating period on the sidelines.
He added: “I’m always like that whenever I score a goal. I was just so delighted.
“You could see how much it means to me. It’s been a long time. It is a frustrating time but I thought the boys put in a good performance that got us the win.”
Taylor (pictured below) also insisted the toxic mood inside St James’ Park “did not” affect the players.
He said: “I don’t think it affected the players although I thought the fans looked a bit nervous.
“We targeted a few things with Cardiff and stuck to our gameplan, concentrated on that and tried to kill the game dead when sometimes the fans want us to attack a bit more.
“We just had to make sure we gained the three points and a clean sheet.”