Newcastle United set to step up bid for Erik Pieters

NEWCASTLE United are ready to submit an improved offer for Erik Pieters after productive talks with the left-back's representatives over the weekend.

Erik Pieters

NEWCASTLE United are ready to submit an improved offer for Erik Pieters after productive talks with the left-back's representatives over the weekend.

Newcastle have held discussions with Holland defender Pieters and Lyon’s Aly Cissokho over the past seven days but their interest in the PSV Eindhoven defender has been reignited after they were priced out of a move for the French left-back, who will cost a minimum of £8million.

Alan Pardew told The Journal last week interest in Pieters had cooled, with attacking full-back Cissokho apparently the priority.

However, with the manager visiting Den Haag to check out Pieters in person after being told Lyon would not budge on their valuation, The Journal understands it is now a case of persuading Derek Llambias to meet PSV’s valuation of Pieters, which is around £6.5million.

Previous experience would suggest that is far from straightforward, with United sticking to a strict budget so far this summer which has seen them refuse to meet the asking price of top striker target Mevlut Erdinc last month. There is, though, a belief at St James’ Park a move to Pieters could be completed quickly with the defender desperate to join compatriot Tim Krul on Tyneside.

Pieters said: “The Premier League is a very good league to play in.

“I am open to this step, it seems a great challenge, but if it fails I am not disappointed. My agent must report to me when it is really concrete. I have not heard yet, so I wait.”

United held talks with Cissokho’s English-based representatives last week and a source close to the deal continued described it as “very possible” yesterday afternoon.

However, there is an acknowledgement Newcastle will not go to the major money Lyon are asking to make the deal happen.

The player is understood to favour a move to England.

Pardew continues to track Manchester City’s former England international Wayne Bridge.

However, a move for him would not fit into United’s budget and the veteran defender does not fit into the blueprint of wanting major re-sale value from new signings.

As United continue to strive to make additions to their squad, they may also find themselves fighting charges at home and abroad.

Sochaux president Alexandre Lacombe is threatening to report United to Uefa after claiming they illegally approached striker Modibo Maiga, who has gone on strike to force through a move to St James’ Park.

They say the Mali international had been made aware of Newcastle’s interest, which has turned his head and prompted the unusual move of withdrawing his services.

Lacombe said: “Newcastle are going on contacting our players despite our refusal.

“So we will register a complaint with Uefa, telling them such behaviour is not fair play. It is provoking destabilisation.”

Ironically, The Journal understands Newcastle are set to move on to other targets after, again, feeling the striker is over-valued by his club.

That brinkmanship may force Sochaux to consider Newcastle’s offer but. with relations between the two clubs poor, that is not a given.

The Journal also understands Pardew is waiting to hear from the Football Association over whether or not he faces action over comments made before the North East derby about Howard Webb.

The United boss said the World Cup referee “needs to make sure he referees the game from a completely neutral point of view” when asked about Joey Barton during his pre-match press conference.

While those quotes appear innocuous, the FA has told managers not to make any comment on officials before games.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer