Rolando Aarons’ stunning pre-season form has attracted interest from Championship clubs – but Newcastle United are set to keep the winger at St James’ Park for the first half of the season.
Aarons has been the surprise star of the summer for Newcastle, coming from nowhere to stake a claim for the first team squad despite having never played a minute of senior football.
His form has prompted the Jamaican FA to make an enquiry about the Kingston-born winger, but the English FA are also monitoring his progress, with the result that he is in contention for a call-up to one of the under-age squads next season.
Newcastle have also fielded enquiries from a clutch of clubs in the Football League, including at least one from the second tier about whether the club will be willing to let him go out in loan. League One Bradford City, who are managed by Alan Pardew’s friend Phil Parkinson, are also understood to have asked to be kept informed of his availability as they look to boost their squad numbers.
It is quite a rise for a player who was a pivotal part of Newcastle’s FA Youth Cup run last season, and impressed senior management with his attitude and ability back then. Still, he has come on in leaps and bounds during a pre-season campaign in which he has not looked out of place among more senior players.
A loan move is one possibility being explored by the United management, who also have a decision to make on the future of fellow prospect Adam Armstrong. But at the moment the coaching staff are hoping to retain Aarons (pictured above) to help him develop on the fringes of their first team group.
It would be a big call for Pardew to include him in the squad for the visit of Manchester City a week tomorrow, but Pardew is willing to take the risk – if he thinks there is a dividend to be reaped.
After the trip to Germany, Pardew pushed the young winger as one of the breakout stars of pre-season. He said: “The real highlight of pre-season has been Rolando. He was terrific again. It’s nice to see a young player really pushing, and I thought he caused real problems for Schalke – long may that continue.”
United have decisions to make on a few of their fringe men. While Aarons has pushed his cause in the summer, Sammy Ameobi – who is coming into the final year of his contract – may benefit from first-team football, and Sheffield Wednesday are interested in taking him on loan.
Newcastle must also decide whether Remie Streete, once considered a promising prospect but now struggling to make the transition from Academy to first team squad, should be allowed to go out on loan.
Newcastle will face Real Sociedad this weekend hoping to make the most of a tough work-out against difficult opposition.
Pardew insists that his approach will be moulded to cope with the demands of facing Manchester City in a few days.
“It’s about getting ready for the week after,” Pardew told the club’s official website. “I’ll still make a lot of substitutions in that game; it’s really about building for Sunday week.”
United must make a good start to blow away some of the negativity that clung to the club at the end of the last campaign, and Mike Williamson is targeting a positive beginning that can bring some momentum.
He said: “It’s important to get a good positive start and everyone feels good. We’re looking forward to it.”