NEWCASTLE United’s drawn out pursuit of Swansea left-back Neil Taylor is finally reaching end game after being referred to a Premier League arbitration panel.
With United insisting they will not increase the £1million bid rejected by the Swans last month, The Journal understands Wales international Taylor has gone to the Premier League in a bid to find a resolution to the messy dispute. The player’s representatives wrote to the Premier League looking for “guidance” surrounding the disputed release clause in his contract and the long-running saga is now set to go to arbitration in a test case that could change transfer rules.
The Magpies’ £1m offer triggered a release clause in Taylor’s contract that both Newcastle and the player believed would allow him to complete a move away from the Premier League newcomers at that knock down price.
But Swansea dispute the wording of the clause and say the bid only allows Newcastle to talk terms with Taylor – not buy him. They have since rejected the offer and told Taylor he must stay at the Liberty Stadium – unless a club meets their valuation.
With the Premier League asked to intervene, the ground-breaking case looks set to go to an arbitration panel over the next fortnight.
The Journal understands Swansea’s £1.5m bid for winger Wayne Routledge – which was rejected by Newcastle yesterday – is being treated as a separate matter and will have no bearing on the Taylor situation.
“It is slow progress at the moment but at the same time it needs to be resolved because the lad is in a very delicate position,” Taylor’s agent Jamie Moralee told The Journal.
“At the moment clarification is being sought from the Premier League and we are waiting for that but Newcastle have made it clear that they won’t go above £1million, which is not an offer that Swansea will accept.”
Newcastle want Taylor to fight it out with a more senior left-back next season, which they hope will be Jose Enrique.
The Spanish defender wants to play Champions League football next season but Arsene Wenger’s assertion yesterday
that Arsenal will not be signing a replacement for Gael Clichy appears to have shut the door on a potential move to the Emirates Stadium.
United insiders say he is no hurry to commit to Newcastle though, leaving the situation in a state of limbo.
While efforts to recruit new players to St James’ Park have slowed interest is hotting up in their fringe men.
Blackpool had a £1.5m bid for Nile Ranger accepted over the weekend but The Journal understands the striker has so far been unable to reach an agreement with the Tangerines, who are unwilling to match his current deal at St James’ Park.
But Routledge is a man in demand, with the Swans being joined by Leicester, West Ham, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest in the chase for the wide man.
Forest had a bid accepted last week but no agreement has been reached on personal terms, allowing Leicester – backed by rich Thai investment – to step in. With Chris Hughton’s Birmingham in a state of financial uncertainty, the Foxes now appear to be favourites to secure his signature.
Meanwhile, United are no further towards making a breakthrough in their hunt for a second striker. A club source has rubbished links with Caen striker Youssef El-Arabi while a move for their priority target Paris Saint Germain’s Mevlut Erdinc has stalled.
Newcastle hope to have another forward on board before the start of the season and would like someone to have signed before they jet off to America on Saturday. But panic buying is off the agenda and the club will not stray from a list of carefully prepared targets.
Boss Alan Pardew said: “We are still looking hard for a striker, and we have got our eyes on every striker who is available at the moment. But they have to be the right fit for this club.
“There is a certain genre they have to fit into. And we will be striving for them to fit into that category.”