Alan Pardew last night dropped a heavy hint that Newcastle United’s long- awaited first signing of the summer will be completed this weekend.
The United manager said he hoped that a deal would be “over the line” when the first-team squad are in Portugal where they will play two games. They leave for Braga this morning and will return next Wednesday.
This could mean Darren Bent at long last signing for Newcastle, if director of football Joe Kinnear can sort out his contract over the next few days.
Porto defender Rolando is another on United’s hitlist and he is reportedly interested in a move to St James’ Park.
Newcastle beat Motherwell 4-2 last night in the team’s first game of the pre-season with a number of players doing themselves a big favour.
The supporters, however, want to see new faces actually arrive – and not just being spoken about in the media – and this at long last could happen.
Newcastle at this moment in time are the only Premier League side not have signed a player.
Asked if he thought that any deal was imminent, Pardew said: “I would expect to be down the road with a transfer when we are in Portugal. I am hoping
that Joe and Lee Charnley (club secretary) get something over the line.”
Pardew was pleased last night to see the fruits of what has been a punishing pre-season schedule.
Goals from Haris Vuckic, playing his first match in nine months, Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko and Sylvain Marveaux saw Newcastle win what was a highly entertaining match against Motherwell.
The manager was pleased with his team’s attitude, which was enjoyed by a travelling support that numbered over a thousand.
Newcastle leave Portugal today with every one of their first-team players set to be on the plane. Last night’s side was missing the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse, who only joined up with the squad last week.
Those given more time off because they were on international duty at the end of last season won’t feature in Saturday’s match against Rio Ave in Braga, but will definitely get some game time in the second match with Pacos de Ferreira next Tuesday.
Pardew said: “I said to the players when we finished last season that I was planning the toughest pre-season I have ever done.
“I did this because I want our levels to be super high and it has shown tonight that our fitness levels are high. I was pleased with the game.
“We also had a few bonuses, Haris (Vuckic) was terrific on his return from a long injury, and Paul Dummett is knocking on the door of the first team. He could not have done any more. For me, he was man of the match.
“We are all going to Portugal. It will be the first team because are all back now, so we are looking to take our strongest squad with us. It’s too early for some of them to play on Saturday, these guys out here tonight are way ahead of the others.
“It will be a similar sort of side that plays the first game that played here. They will get a little piece of that in the second game, a few of the internationals who played in the summer will come in I hope.
“Hopefully the internationals can get up to the fitness levels of some of these guys. It was nice to see the way we played against Motherwell.”