Tim Krul is considering his Newcastle United future, with Tottenham, Milan and Juventus all monitoring the Holland goalkeeper’s availability.
The Journal understands that losing his place in his national side has been a major blow to Krul, who recognises the need to be playing in European competition to remain in the frame for an extremely competitive Holland squad.
And with a host of big-name European clubs watching him in recent weeks, there is an added measure of uncertainty about a player who is under a long-term contract at St James’ Park.
Newcastle are braced for a busy summer and expect to receive interest in some of their bigger names. They are aware that Tottenham, who are expecting interest in Hugo Lloris, have identified Krul as their main target in the event that the France goalkeeper requests a move.
Ironically, United are monitoring Jeroen Zoet, the goalkeeper who has taken his place in the Holland squad, as a potential replacement.
United were ready to make a move for Krul’s compatriot last summer before the appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football, and have stayed in contact with the 23-year-old PSV shot-stopper ever since.
Celtic’s Fraser Forster – who would welcome a return to Newcastle – has also been considered by Newcastle if Krul departs.
Krul has been one of the mainstays of United’s squad since usurping Steve Harper in the summer of 2011, but this has been a campaign of frustration for the Academy graduate, who has suffered injuries and seen his international place taken from him.He has always rubbished talk of leaving St James’ Park, but the club’s slide down the table – and the unravelling of Newcastle’s season since the sale of Yohan Cabaye – has caused ripples among the squad and may lead to further high-profile departures.
Inside the club there is a sense of anticipation around the return of Mike Ashley from Miami, where he has been holidaying for three weeks.
The United owner had been encouraging in a series of meetings before he left for North America, but they are still waiting for the green light before decisions are taken on a number of big issues – including which players will be allowed to go and whether to make offers on a number of targets that have been identified.
Pardew’s future had not been under scrutiny before Ashley left, but the run of results has worsened in the intervening weeks.
United’s squad for next season may not bear much resemblance to this season’s.
Krul is one of those who may be sold, along with Mathieu Debuchy if the club feel that they could source a replacement of equal ability who offers long-term prospects.
Newcastle will also make Hatem Ben Arfa available after a breakdown in his relationship with Pardew and the rest of the squad.
The club are also likely to allow Shola Ameobi to leave on a free, although an official decision on the veteran forward is on hold until the end of the season.
Having said a fortnight ago that he would protect him, Adam Armstrong could now play at Arsenal on Monday. “It felt amazing to get out there,” said Armstrong of his home debut against Swansea on Saturday.
“Like I always say, it’s a boy’s dream to play at St James’s Park, and I’m really happy.
“But at the end of the day it’s about the results and we didn’t get that so everyone’s gutted.
“I had all my family and my friends watching me, which is just what you want really. It’s a really good feeling.
“It was a buzz, they were clapping when I was coming on. It was amazing, there’s nothing else I can say.”