Newcastle United have offered a trial to out-of-contract Sunderland youngster Louis Laing, who has been training with Manchester United.
In a surprising turn of events, United are keen to cast a closer look at in-demand Laing – who is Newcastle-born but has been involved with the Black Cats Academy until his summer release.
Sunderland have decided to release him because they cannot offer him any assurances about first-team chances next season, but the Magpies are looking to re-stock their development sides as part of a complete summer overhaul.
Laing has trained with the Red Devils and is understood to have impressed reserve-team coaches at Old Trafford. He also has a contract offer from Blackburn, and is interesting Preston, Nottingham Forest and Derby County.
Newcastle want to make sure that they have more talent in reserve next year and are prepared to allow James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic to leave this summer after they failed to make the grade. Presumably Laing would be part of a development squad that has been mothballed in recent years.
He was highly-rated by assistant boss John Carver, who said in 2011 that with his background he should be playing for Newcastle.
“Recently there’s a boy called Louis Laing who played at Montagu and he went to Sunderland,” Carver said three years ago. “He lives in Lemington. For me, irrespective of what people think, that’s not right. If there is a talent out there within a stone’s throw of this city, then why is he not at Newcastle United?”
Meanwhile, Shola Ameobi is heading to Brazil for the World Cup with Nigeria after being named in their provisional squad.
It is a remarkable turnaround for the United forward, who is sweating on Newcastle offering him a new contract at the end of the season.
Brazil will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the forward says he also wants Fabricio Coloccini to go with Argentina. “Colo is a very good friend who I have known for a few years now,” Ameobi said. “And it would be a real treat to be out there together.
“He’s a top, top player and deserves his chance in that Argentina squad.
“I have wished him all the best and hope that he does get picked and has done the same for me too. We are both very excited and hopeful of being there and it could be a great moment for Newcastle as well.”