Newcastle United's African tour plan collapses

NEWCASTLE United will not be heading to South Africa for pre-season this summer after talks to tour Cape Town broke down, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

Newcastle United players in training
Newcastle United players in training

NEWCASTLE United will not be heading to South Africa for pre-season this summer after talks to tour Cape Town broke down, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

Well-sourced African reports had United taking on Ajax Cape Town and Everton at the end of July but that will not now happen, with Newcastle having stepped away from a possible three-team tournament.

Everton had already tied up a tour in America as an alternative.

The Journal now understands United – who had looked into America, the Far East and Brazil as possible tour venues – will be staying “short haul” for their pre-season games this year, with a European training camp and friendlies seemingly in the pipeline.

The club are not yet in a position to confirm friendly dates but one intriguing possibility has already emerged.

Blackpool have claimed United will be heading to the seaside in July for a Bloomfield Road friendly, although Newcastle have not confirmed that fixture.

“We’ll have a friendly against Newcastle and we are working towards it, there’s no desperate panic as everything is on schedule,” owner Karl Oyston said – hinting at the possibility of a game close to the start of the campaign.

One thing is for certain – breaking off negotiations in South Africa shows lessons have been learned from last summer.

Then, the collapse of the mooted Vodacom Challenge saw them hastily arrange a tour of Germany and Austria, playing Monaco and Fenerbahce.

It is also unlikely that they will return to the Algarve after last

season’s tournament against Braga and Olympiakos was poorly attended.

Meanwhile, United sources have played down reports linking Papiss Cisse with a move to Anzhi – claims which emerged in Russian newspaper Izvestia on Friday morning.

It was claimed Anzhi were prepared to pay £15.4million to secure Cisse’s services, with the club then looking to offer him £50,000-a-week and a long-term ontract.

United were relaxed about the reports, however – especially as Cisse has shown no inclination to walk away from Newcastle.

The Magpies’ understanding is Cisse would like to sign a new contract rather than leave the club.

There are likely to be changes this summer, however, with Cheick Tiote another player attracting interest from Russia. The Journal reported on Thursday he was wanted by Lokomotiv Moscow.

However, the player himself would favour staying on Tyneside.

The tough-tackling midfielder will be active for most of the summer and has back-to-back internationals with Ivory Coast this month.

He will play against Gambia next week before the Ivorians take on Tanzania.

Two wins would see the Elephants book their place in Brazil next year.

Tiote said: “I’ve been away for one week and soon I go away with the national team because we have the two qualifying games for the World Cup.

“We’re top of our group at the moment so if we win the two games we’ll go to the next stage.

“After that we’d need to play one more game to get qualified so that’s the target for us.”

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