Newcastle United step up bid for Erik Pieters

NEWCASTLE United will push ahead with a move for Holland defender Erik Pieters regardless of whether want-away defender Jose Enrique moves on before the end of the transfer window.

Erik Pieters

NEWCASTLE United will push ahead with a move for Holland defender Erik Pieters regardless of whether want-away defender Jose Enrique moves on before the end of the transfer window.

United have made an enquiry to PSV Eindhoven about the international defender and with doubts about Enrique’s commitment to the cause they would like to push a deal through before the weekend.

United believe Pieters would welcome a move to St James’ Park, where close friend Tim Krul plays his football.

While it has been widely assumed a move for Peters spells the end for Enrique, The Journal understands the transfer is not dependent on the Spanish defender departing Tyneside.

Liverpool retain an interest in him but are yet to make a formal move for him, despite Enrique’s desperation to depart.

Newcastle’s detailed dossier on Pieters makes a big play of his versatility, with the 22-year-old a more than capable centre-back as well as a talented full-back.

That helps him to match the recruitment criteria set out by Mike Ashley at the start of the summer. Having signed Gabriel Obertan on Monday, United hope to step up their business over the next few days – but there are unlikely to be a new striker on board in time for Arsenal.

The Journal understands United expect progress on the striker hunt early next week – and that they have been offered the chance to sign Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

Certain betting exchanges suspended trading on the Denmark forward joining Newcastle, but the Journal understands he is not a priority target and it is unlikely he will be making the move to St James’ Park unless there is a major change of heart among senior figures.

Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch have also been mentioned as potential targets but wages and fees make deals for any of that trio far too expensive to broker.

United have held talks on the forward vacancy this week and, while several domestic-based names have been mentioned, the odds are it will be a Continental-based forward who joins Shola Ameobi, Demba Ba, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands among Newcastle’s striking options. Nile Ranger – who remains a target for Birmingham City despite their initial loan offer being knocked back – is unlikely to feature this season after being told his Newcastle career is over. One striker signing United did make yesterday was tying Shola Ameobi to a contract which is likely to see him finish his career at St James’ Park.

Ameobi penned a new two-and-a-half year deal and said he appreciated another show of support from the Newcastle board. The 29-year-old, who made his United debut in 2000, is set to end his playing days at the club where he graduated through the Academy.

He said: “All I have ever wanted is to play for Newcastle United and it is a really happy day for me.

“Newcastle is, and always will be, my club and I am looking forward immensely to the next three years, beginning this Saturday with the new season opener against Arsenal.

“I would also like to thank the board and the manager for their continued support, which is very much appreciated.” Boss Alan Pardew said the move to keep Ameobi illustrated United are committed to “continuity”. He said: “We are delighted to have confirmed Shola’s new contract.

“He has done a terrific job for me since I have been at the club and he is also a great character to have around the place.

“It is also great for the club his younger brother Sammy is developing well and we hope he can go on to have a successful career at Newcastle.”

Newcastle’s home game with Fulham has been moved to Sunday, August 28 (1pm) due to the Cottagers Europa League commitments.

Journalists

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