Newcastle United are understood to be weighing up a January move for MK Dons’ highly-rated Dele Alli.
The teenage left-winger – currently out with an ankle injury – is being eyed as a potential long-term replacement for Jonas Gutierrez. Newcastle’s transfer strategy in the New Year will be shaped by their form, but they are looking to land Loic Remy while also bringing in young players who will bring in long-term value.
Alli is one of their top targets as they consider life after Gutierrez, and they dispatched scouts to watch the 18-year-old on several occasions.
His progress has been checked by injury and he is out for another six weeks after suffering an ankle ligament rupture at the start of the month. But he should be back in time for the New Year and United will resume their monitoring of the midfielder when he returns.
Alli has been billed as one of the most promising players in England for his age by MK Dons manager Karl Robinson, who has previously spoken of the Dons’ desire to keep him at the League One club.
“I’ve seen him do things in training that I’ve never seen before. He scores goals, he wins penalties, back heels, nutmegs, driving inside, winning headers and tackles,” he said.
“He’s got an air of arrogance and confidence about him. He’s one of the best young players in England – fact.”
United are yet to make detailed plans for the next transfer window, but there is a feeling among the club’s higher echelons that the squad is far improved from last season. They are keen to push through a quick deal for Remy, though, after negotiating a fee for the striker when they struck a loan deal for him. Their problem is that the more goals he scores, the more likely Remy is to wait it out and assess his options at the end of the year.
Newcastle believe that their treatment of him so far this season will give them an advantage, but if he continues to progress – and plays in the World Cup – they know the matter may be taken out of their hands.
Meanwhile, England are understood to be monitoring the performances of young left-back Paul Dummett, who has made a superb impact in the opening weeks of the Premier League season.
United are set to reward the Academy graduate with a new, long-term contract in the coming weeks and he may face an international dilemma
in the near future with England having asked to be kept abreast of his situation.
He has been called up to the Wales senior squad on two occasions but is yet to earn an appearance in a competitive game, which would – in theory – make him eligible to play for the Three Lions.
However, Dummett has suggested that he is happy to keep representing Wales.
“I’m English, my grandad’s Welsh, but Wales gave me an opportunity first and I’ve got family who are Welsh. I’m proud to play for them and as long as they keep picking me I’m happy toplay for them,” he told TheJournal.
Meanwhile, earning a place in England’s World Cup squad is an incentive for former United striker Andy Carroll as the Gateshead-born forward continues his rehabilitation from his heel injury.
The 24-year-old, who has nine England caps and two goals, has spent the last three weeks at the Move to Cure clinic in Antwerp, working alongside therapist Lieven Maesschalck after suffering a serious plantar fascia injury on the final day of last season.
Carroll, who watched West Ham’s loss to Manchester City on Saturday before going back to Belgium, is optimistic of a return soon.
“I’ve just got to get back and play for West Ham and score some goals and force myself back into the England squad,” said Carroll, who last played for England against San Marino in October 2012, told West Ham TV. “For now I’m back off to Belgium and it all starts again for another week.
“I’m doing well over in Belgium and I’m enjoying working out there with Lieven and it’s going great.
“I am working hard every day and if I keep doing that then it shouldn’t be too much longer.
“I’ve kicked on a bit from when I first went over there. I was in a boot and on crutches, but it’s obviously feeling a lot better and I’m starting to do heavier work, rather than just balancing.
“I’m starting to use weights and squatting a bit more, which is putting more pressure on my foot which is a positive.”