NEWCASTLE United have blocked Papiss Cisse’s Olympics call-up in a bid to have the Senegal striker fit and firing for the start of their European campaign.
Cisse has been called into the Senegal squad for the Olympic tournament and was expected to report to a training camp in Spain in the next few days.
However, United have rejected the move in the hope of having him involved in their pre-season.
United are in discussions with the Senegalese FA, but the current ruling is clubs are not obliged to release over-age players for the Games.
A precedent was set in 2008 when Lionel Messi was selected to play for Argentina and the Court of Arbitration for Sport backed Barcelona’s decision to block his call-up.
The Spanish giants later relented and allowed him to play. United are understandably keen to keep Cisse for their two Continental training camps in Germany and Portugal, which could be critical when they make their late August bow in the Europa League.
But it is unclear how their stance will go down in Dakar.
No doubt the two parties will be eager to maintain cordial relations with the African Nations Cup in January and Pardew – who was watching on Centre Court at Wimbledon yesterday – said: “We have to give our permission and we are sort of discussing it.
“It is awkward because we want to prepare for a difficult season ahead of Europa League and Premier League games.”
That news emerged as United appeared to have reached a dead end in their pursuit of Holland striker Luuk de Jong.
The Journal understands a £10million bid was lodged over the weekend and Newcastle were expecting a decision yesterday – but by the close of play Twente had neither rejected nor accepted the offer.
Derek Llambias was heading for Newcastle last night after his trip to Holland with secretary Lee Charnley to try and force through moves for both de Jong and defender Douglas, who re-emerged as a target after Twente indicated their willingness to sell at a cut-price £5million.
However, the prognosis on both appeared gloomy last night as the Eredivisie club seemed to be standing firm on their £15million valuation.
It is a blow for United and the player, who had indicated his desire to move to Newcastle.
Twente are convinced that, with other teams interested, they will be able to get closer to their expensive valuation of a player on the fringes of the Dutch side.
United still hope to land Douglas but The Journal understands that, while the club have been attracted to the low valuation, there are still concerns about the player’s representatives.
It is understood the club held discussions with Douglas in Germany last year and believed he would be joining the club in the summer.
However, when agents got involved and began to tout him to other clubs in Europe, United backed off.
One last effort will be made over the next few days to try and push through the deal but there is the added complication of the Brazilian-born player having to wait until August to qualify for Holland.
Although a Dutch citizen, FIFA rules dictate he must have lived in Holland for five years to play for the national side – surely a factor for a player with sizeable ambitions.
As United were braced for disappointment in their attempts to go double Dutch, they are set to bank £5million for Leon Best and Fraser Forster.
Blackburn confirmed the purchase of Best on a four-year deal while Forster, who has spent the last two seasons at Celtic, is to be confirmed by the Glasgow club as a permanent signing later this week.