NEWCASTLE United are the front-runners if Loïc Rémy opts to move to the Premier League this month, but they seem certain to face stiff competition from two Bundesliga clubs for the in-demand striker.
The 26-year-old Marseille player is the Magpies’ priority target in the transfer window.
Manager Alan Pardew said last week he would not move for any other players until securing a replacement for Demba Ba.
Reports that Rémy was on Tyneside yesterday were denied by club sources, but he remains top of their list as they look for players comfortable filling the wide roles in a 4-3-3 formation alongside Papiss Cissé.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp was in the crowd for Marseille’s cup game against Guingamp at the weekend, in which Rémy played but did not score, but the French media are reporting he has turned down a move to the relegation-threatened west London club.
The respected L’Equipe went a step further, quoting Rémy as saying “I know of Newcastle’s interest but I would like to play in Germany,” while adding that Inter Milan are interested in signing him on loan.
Newcastle hope to speak to the striker this week to persuade him he would be better moving to the Premier League.
Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 are both monitoring the France international. Both already have highly-rated strikers, although Dortmund could be planning for life after Robert Lewandowski.
The Pole was identified as a Manchester United target last summer and, while they are not expected to move for him in this window – Sir Alex Ferguson has said he does not expect any major January signings – many think the Red Devils will lodge a £10m bid at the end of the season. Schalke’s top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar signed a two-year contract extension days before Christmas after renewed speculation that he, too, would be moving to England.
Significantly, though, both German clubs can offer Champions League football this season, having won their qualifying groups, and quite probably next (Dortmund went into the mid-season break third, Schalke seventh).
Newcastle are still in the
Europa League, but their chances of being back in Europe next season are slim. Inter are also in the Europa League, and are fifth in Serie A.
The fact it is holding up other business is not the only reason Pardew is keen to sign a striker sooner rather than later. With Demba Ba joining Chelsea and Shola Ameobi suspended after his red card against Brighton and Hove Albion, the only senior cover for Cissé is provided by Nile Ranger and Xisco – the first of whom looked to have had his Newcastle career ended by indiscipline, while the other still does not appear to have a future due to his limitations.
Newcastle play three relegation rivals – Norwich, Reading and Aston Villa – before the transfer deadline and, with ten defeats in 14 games, they need the morale boost a big-name signing would provide.
Three of the team knocked out of the FA Cup at the Amex Stadium are set to feature for the reserves tonight. Ranger, Shane Ferguson and Mehdi Abeid are in the squad for the Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final at Bedlington Terriers. Adam Campbell and Lubomir Satka are also in a strong Newcastle party.
The game, which will be decided on the night, kicks off at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £6, £3 for concessions.
Meanwhile, Anthony Taylor has been appointed referee for Saturday’s game at Carrow Road. Taylor refereed the last Premier League away game Newcastle avoided defeat in – a 1-1 draw at Liverpool where he sent off Fabricio Coloccini – and the League Cup defeat at Manchester United.