Joe Kinnear is set to be at St James’ Park for the crucial Fulham clash on Saturday as he finally re-locates to Newcastle in the run-up to Monday’s transfer deadline.
Kinnear has been stationed in London since his appointment but The Journal understands that Newcastle’s controversial director of football will be in the North East from the early part of this week until deadline day as United make a final, desperate push to resolve the transfer issues that have been floating around the club all summer.
United are hopeful of finally landing a striker in the next six days and The Journal understands they have identified a Ligue 1 target who fits the bill.
The player is not understood to be Marseille’s Andre Ayew, who Kinnear watched over the weekend.
The director of football gave another interview to a national newspaper yesteday in which he claimed that Alan Pardew was happy with his current squad, but there is a recognition within the club that not bringing in another new face would be unacceptable.
They have been offered Ayew and Blackburn forward Jordan Rhodes by agents, but Newcastle’s scrutiny is elsewhere as Kinnear attempts to negotiate the striker signing that he was tasked with at the start of the summer.
Kinnear’s presence this week may also push along the ongoing Yohan Cabaye saga. The Journal understands Cabaye did not train yesterday as all parties continue to wait on a possible second bid from Arsenal, who had a first offer of £10million rejected.
The Gunners have been told to cough up £20m – which they are unwilling to do – but Newcastle may accept a figure closer to £18m for the player.
Either way time is of the essence for United, who are running out of time to source a replacement for the French playmaker.
Kinnear is running out of time to prove his appointment and his assertion that the negativity surrounding Newcastle was unjustified will not have gone down well.
In an interview with a national newspaper he said: “Alan Pardew has signed 16 players costing £60m in the last two years, Newcastle United’s wage bill is now comfortably in the top 10 in the country, and he will continue to get all the support the club can reasonably provide.
“Before the season started, we had sat down and agreed the squad was big enough, and strong enough, to finish in the top half of the table. But we are working together – not plotting against each other.
“There seems to be a perception, from outside the club, that we are at loggerheads, but I don’t know why people are jumping on the bandwagon because it is a false picture.”
One bright spot from the weekend was the form of Vurnon Anita, who returned to the first team with a smart performance against West Ham and will continue in the team on Saturday.
“As a player you always want to play, and against West Ham was my chance to play and show what I can do. It is up to the coach to decide if I play the next game or not. I feel like I did my best.
“I liked playing in that role alongside Moussa [Sissoko], but that’s not up to me. That’s up to the coach to decide. If he plays us, if he plays me, I am ready.”
Anita is not worried about the lack of goals either. He is certain that they will return in time. “We have focused a lot on keeping the ball,” he said. “The second half we showed it . We had plenty of little one-twos, but we didn’t score. That’s the only negative point.
“The only way we can turn the possession in to shots and goals is if we work on our movement in the final third a bit more. We need to get in behind the strikers. Little things like that. As long as we are patient, keep the ball, then those doors will open up for us.”