Newcastle United's summer overhaul has continued with the signing of Sunderland’s Jack Colback on a five-year contract that has quadrupled his Black Cats’ wage – but the Magpies hunt for a playmaker and a front-line striker may now move into July.
Midfielder Colback makes it two new arrivals for Newcastle after protracted talks saw progress on the deal last week. He turned down interest from West Ham and a renewed and improved contract from Sunderland to sign for the Magpies – and intriguingly Newcastle may now move for another Black Cat Louis Laing, who shares an agent with Colback.
The latter said after signing for Newcastle: “I’m absolutely delighted. To come to the team I supported as a boy, my hometown team, will be really special for me. It was an opportunity I couldn’t let slip.”
There will be some satisfaction at United that they have brokered a deal for a young English midfielder on a free transfer – but there is much more work to do, with a ball playing replacement for Yohan Cabaye still required.
United managing director Lee Charnley had hoped to have clinched deals for four new players by the start of June but the club’s haggling with Montpellier over Remy Cabella has seen that deal mothballed, and they are now ready to return to plan B and a move for Bafetimbi Gomis after being knocked back in enquiries for strikers in Holland and Germany.
The club had originally written off a deal for Gomis after becoming embroiled in a wage demand row with representatives circulating his name to Premier League sides.
But there has been further talks in recent days and United are still interested if the deal is right. He has long been seen as their insurance option this summer but they were ready to scratch him off their hitlist after the move became complicated.
Gomis appeared to hint at a possible move to England yesterday when questioned on his future.
He was reported as saying: “I can find something else, a new culture. I could move to Russia where I was offered to double my salary.
“Staying in France? I do not think so because apart from Paris or Monaco (none matches my ambition) and I doubt they make me an offer.” The fact is, United’s recruitment drive still has plenty of distance to cover because the club are still looking to move on some of their bigger names to recalibrate dressing room chemistry.
The Journal understands the Magpies’ major overhaul has seen Davide Santon, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Sylvain Marveaux, Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan all made available at the right price as the club look to re-organise the spine of the side.
They will be replaced by younger players like Ayoze Perez, whose agent Olaf Bonales made it clear yesterday that he signed for Newcastle with a view on long-term progression – and was particularly sold on the club by Alan Pardew. He said: “The option which has chosen the best, four-year contract in the British team, which will be able to continue progressing his game. It is a powerful club financially and structure they want to go slowly marking the foundation of a new project.
“We had a verbal agreement with Porto but Alan Pardew’s insistence was so great we finally sat down and closed the transfer.”