United target Arda favours move to Italy

NEWCASTLE United’s hopes of signing Turkish winger Arda appear to have been crushed as he is hoping to secure a move to Italy this summer.

Arda Turan

NEWCASTLE United’s hopes of signing Turkish winger Arda appear to have been crushed as he is hoping to secure a move to Italy this summer.

Arda, who missed Turkey’s 3-2 Euro 2008 semi-final defeat to Germany last night through suspension, is expected to make an announcement about his future in the next few days. But it is looking increasingly likely that it will be bad news for Magpies manager Kevin Keegan, who is yet to make a decisive move in the transfer market.

Newcastle had attempted to wrap up an £8m deal for the exciting 21-year-old attacking midfielder last month, but were frustrated by Galatasaray’s reluctance to sell before the start of the European Championships.

And it seems as though Galatasaray’s ploy has worked with both Juventus and AC Milan reportedly interested in the left-footed playmaker, who could cost as much as £15m following his impressive performances for his country in Austria and Switzerland.

The entrance of two of Serie A’s biggest clubs into the race would not necessarily have ended United’s chase of Arda, but the revelation from his agent, Ahmet Bulut, that he wants to play in Italy, rather than England, will surely prompt Keegan to go back to the drawing board as he looks for the creative spark in midfield he feels his side lacked last season.

“There will be a decision next week when the European Championships have ended and we will reveal all then,” said Bulut, who is also the agent of Newcastle’s Fenerbahçe-bound midfielder Emre, in the Italian sports paper Corriere dello Sport.

“A lot of clubs have contacted me about Arda, even though the asking price for him has risen. Milan and Juventus are both interested and we will start speaking

about things on Monday. However, I confirm that next season Arda Turan will play in Italy.”

Bulut’s statement contradicts what Arda himself said earlier this week when he claimed his preferred destination would be an “English or Spanish” club. Nevertheless, these latest comments do not appear to leave much room for manoeuvre, although sources in Turkey were adamant last night that Galatasaray have still not received an acceptable bid from any Italian clubs.

Although United have had a long-standing interest in Arda, Keegan has not had any contact with the media for several weeks and there is a possibility the Magpies hierarchy have already moved on to other targets after learning of the player’s preference to play in Serie A.

Equally, although Bulut appears to have ended the chance of a move to England for his client, his comments on this issue since United’s interest was revealed last month have been inconsistent and Keegan may still believe he can land his man.

Although Juventus’ interest is genuine, AC Milan’s appears strange as they have repeatedly insisted this summer that they are only interested in signing one player, Arsenal’s Togo international Emmanuel Adebayor.

While Keegan continues his search for fresh blood to strengthen his squad, he will at least be pleased to hear confirmation that defender Steven Taylor is close to signing a new contract. The Journal revealed on Monday that talks between Taylor – who has just 12 months remaining on his existing deal – and the club were progressing well and the England Under-21 international indicated as much yesterday.

He said: “Everyone knows I love this club and want to commit my future here, but the deal has to be right for me and the club. I am happy there has been progress and I hope everything is sorted out soon.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle have finally confirmed details of their pre-season schedule which will begin with a friendly at Hartlepool on July 19. The Magpies will travel to Keegan’s former club Doncaster Rovers on July 26 and will host Spanish outfit Valencia at St James’s Park on August 9. The club are also planning to organise another home game on either August 5 or 6 following their return from the Multi Media Sports Cup in Mallorca. United will line up alongside hosts Real Mallorca and German sides Hertha Berlin and Hannover 96 on the holiday island in the tournament which begins on Friday August 1.

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David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
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