RISING star James Tavernier has pledged his future to Newcastle United – and set his sights on breaking into Alan Pardew’s first-team plans next term.
Tavernier was spared the reserve-team cull that saw eight of his former team-mates released, and has been offered a new contract that he is yet to sign.
The Journal understands that Sheffield Wednesday are interested in recruiting him for their Championship campaign next year, but Tavernier says he wants to stay on Tyneside and continue the progress that saw Pardew draft him into the first-team squad at the end of last season.
That will be a boost to the United hierarchy, who intend to fast-track the club’s most promising youngsters into the first team as they fight on four fronts next season.
“I want to stay at Newcastle – it’s obviously a massive club,” he told The Journal.
“At the moment it’s between the club, myself and my agent but I want to be here. My main aim is to have a really good pre-season and make sure the manager knows that I’m playing well and hopefully I can keep myself in his thinking for next season.
“Obviously there’s going to be more games next season with the Europa League and hopefully that means more chances for all of us in the squad.”
It is interesting that United want to recruit Crystal Palace’s out-of-contract defender Nathaniel Clyne despite having Tavernier in the squad, but the Bradford-born player has no worries about added competition.
And, having been praised by Pardew at the back end of last season, he knows that his progress is being noticed by those that matter.
Tavernier returned to Newcastle to provide back-up for the senior defenders after spells on loan at Carlisle, Milton Keynes Dons and Wednesday last term.
“It was great to hear the manager saying those things about you,” he said.
“It gives you so much inspiration when you hear the manager praising you but there is still a lot of hard work to do and I know next season is a very big one for me personally and for the club as a whole.” Although he will be on the fringes of the first-team squad, another year in the development set-up is on the cards for Tavernier.
United intend to beef that side of the club up with further signings and hope that Paul Dummett, Brad Inman, Conor Newton and the hotly-tipped Michael Richardson ink new contracts.
Although Premier League transfer business is expected to be thin on the ground before the European Championships, a raft of United’s star names were linked with moves away from St James’ Park over the weekend. One well-briefed Sunday report claimed Manchester United had made an informal enquiry about Cheick Tioté, but a source close to the player told The Journal there has been no official approach for the Ivorian yet.
Tioté is known to want to remain on Tyneside and told his advisers before leaving for the summer not to entertain any potential suitors. But yesterday morning those close to the player were stopping short of offering cast-iron assurances that he will still be at Newcastle by August 31.
United – who have already identified potential replacements for Tioté – would not accept less than £20million for a player who is tied down to a long-term contract at St James’ Park.
Meanwhile, West Brom sources have played down Youssuf Mulumbu’s quotes claiming to be in talks with Newcastle.
Albion say they have had no formal approach for the Congolese midfielder from Newcastle or any team and, with the player on holiday in the US, they suspect it could be a case of his agent trying to drum up interest in his client.
But the club believe that with two years left on his current contract, they could demand a high price for the star.