SWANSEA City have rejected Newcastle United’s bid for left-back Neil Taylor.
In a decision which could kick off a legal dispute, the Swans have told Taylor he cannot join the Magpies, who seemed to regard the move as a formality.
Their understanding was that Taylor had a £1m release clause in his contract, and that by meeting it, they could take the Premier League new boys out of the equation.
But Swansea are now saying that is simply the amount which allows clubs to talk to the 22-year-old, not necessarily buy him.
Reports in one national newspaper on Sunday claimed they would demand ten times that amount to buy Taylor.
The matter has been on hold while Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins was on holiday, but he returned yesterday to set Newcastle straight. According to the Welsh club’s official website: “Contact was made by officials from St James’ Park (yesterday) morning, with the Swans confirming they have turned down the bid.
“Taylor was free to talk to Newcastle after they struck a clause in the Wales international’s contract, but the Swans wish to keep hold of the left-back as they prepare for the Premier League.”
This is the second such dispute between top-flight clubs this month.
Blackburn Rovers held up Phil Jones’ move to Manchester United for the same reason, the Red Devils arguing the clause in Jones’ contract allowed them to not simply talk to the England Under-21 defender, but sign him as well. The legality was never tested before Rovers relented.
Explaining his stance, Jenkins said: “We recognise Neil as a young, talented Welsh player that has an important role to play at this club.
“We brought him here from Wrexham (in the summer of 2010) and nurtured his development. He adjusted very well to the Championship last season and we look forward to seeing him play a big role as we enter the Premier League.”
Newcastle see Taylor as cover for whoever is their first-choice left-back next season, with José Enríque seemingly keen to move on. The Spaniard has a year left on his contract and has been evading attempts to negotiate an extension.
Manager Alan Pardew’s stance is that he does not want to keep anyone at St James’ Park who wants to leave. He must hope that, in time, Swansea adopt a similar attitude towards Taylor.
Meanwhile, Steve Harper is bracing himself for a fight when he returns to pre-season training on July 4.
The experienced goalkeeper insists the competition to be the Magpies’ first choice always starts afresh when preparations for the new campaign get under way. But next month it will be fiercer than normal with two highly-rated youngsters breathing down his neck. Harper is aware of that, and ready for it.
Tim Krul made his international debut for Holland this summer and is keen for more first-team football after a run in the side late last season, when Harper recovered from a knee injury.
“The manager, once we were safe (from relegation), wanted to put Tim in and have a look at him, and I had no problem with that,” Harper said.
“The two young lads behind me are champing at the bit and ready to take the jersey from me.
“Every season the manager’s always said nobody’s No 1 – it’s up to you to convince me in pre-season who deserves the shirt, and I’m sure it’ll be no different this time.”
The third member of the trio, Fraser Forster, is interesting Celtic and Norwich City, the last two clubs he had loans with, but Pardew will be extremely reluctant to let him go before having had a chance to assess the trio.
Fabricio Coloccini wants to stay at St James’ Park, despite reported interest from Sevilla.
“I am happy at Newcastle and when I hear the fans singing my name it gives me a special feeling,” said the centre-back, a leading candidate to replace the departed Kevin Nolan as captain.
:: ARSENAL have yet to make a formal offer for Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, according to Lille president Michel Seydoux.
The 24-year-old, previously a target for Newcastle United, has made no secret the Gunners would be his preferred destination were the French club ready to sell.
However, while Arsene Wenger is said to be keen to bolster his squad, suggestions a £10million deal is about to be completed would appear somewhat premature.
Lille president Seydoux told Radio Monte Carlo: “We know that Gervinho is keen on Arsenal. For the moment, there has been simple contact, but we have not received a concrete offer yet.”