NEWCASTLE target Jermaine Beckford has declared his interest in moving to St James’s Park for the first time – but warned other clubs will scupper the deal if United remain rudderless for much longer.
Beckford’s agent Nick Rubery told The Journal that Newcastle remain a “seriously attractive option” for his client, and indicated that the Leeds forward is ready to talk to United’s top brass when the new manager finally takes over.
But with Premier League sides now having declared a tentative interest in the Leeds striker, any move depends on the club’s ownership and managerial situation being resolved over the next fortnight.
Beckford has been identified by Alan Shearer as a priority target and The Journal understands some contact has been made with the Leeds forward’s advisors.
But with no official remit and no power to sanction signings, Shearer is powerless to take it any further for the time being.
It represents a frustrating impasse for the would-be manager – but he will be enthused by the willingness of Beckford’s people to declare their hand.
Leeds are stubbornly holding out for a sizeable sum for their prize asset and that has created a delay that Shearer could capitalise on – if Newcastle’s beleaguered owner Mike Ashley finally relinquishes control.
Until then, any efforts at much-needed recruitment have been mothballed.
A pacey and physical forward, Beckford has averaged a strikerate of more than a goal a game in spells at Scunthorpe and Leeds. He rejected the offer of a new contract at Elland Road earlier in the summer to pursue a new challenge and has attracted interest from Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.
But although he will not wait forever for Newcastle to formalise their interest, contact from Shearer appears to have turned his head.
“It wouldn’t be true to say that Newcastle have missed out on Jermaine because of what is going on there,” Rubery told The Journal.
“There has been interest from other clubs and I would anticipate something happening soon – maybe in the next couple of weeks when the transfer market begins to start hotting up.
“The longer it goes on the less chance they have of getting Jermaine, but it’s not for me to say what is going on at
Newcastle. But it is certainly true that Newcastle are still a seriously attractive option for Jermaine.
“They are a big club, with a fantastic tradition and history and any player would love to play at St James’s Park. I’m sure he would talk to whoever takes over at Newcastle when it is sorted out.”
The timescale for that is still open to debate, although The Journal understands that definitive progress is expected by the end of the week.
Malaysian media mogul Ananda Krishnan issued a statement yesterday saying that he was not part of any Far East group interested in taking over the club – but that does not alter the fact that there is serious interest from the Far East in Newcastle.
A Malaysian consortium were shown around St James’s Park by managing director Derek Llambias on Tuesday, part of the beleaguered owner Mike Ashley’s attempts to push through a quick sale.
Billionaire Krishnan had been credited with an interest in some quarter but a statement issued by Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd, a company owned by the 71-year-old, dismissed those claims.
“News reports were carried on July 5 and July 6 in various newspapers in Malaysia and Singapore that Mr Ananda Krishnan or companies owned by Mr Krishnan had expressed an interest in purchasing Newcastle United Football Club, and that his representatives had been engaged in talks to explore or even conclude such a deal,” it read.
“There is in fact no truth or foundation to this story. Mr Krishnan has not expressed an interest in purchasing Newcastle United Football Club, has not sent any delegation to Newcastle to engage in such talks or authorised any representatives to negotiate on his behalf, and is not considering any such purchase.”