Joe Kinnear has urged Mike Ashley to kick-start Newcastle United’s recruitment drive this week as the club ponder a second bid for top striker target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Kinnear has meetings planned in Newcastle today but The Journal understands he has told Ashley he wants to have delivered a first new signing by Friday, when he is set to take a short, pre-planned break with his family.
He has been working in tandem with Graham Carr over the last week and has also been in regular contact with Ashley, who has sanctioned a first offer for the St Etienne forward. Aubameyang is highly rated after a stunning season in Ligue 1 but has been impressed with Newcastle’s resolve to sign him, and French sources say he would welcome the opportunity to talk to the club. But it appears as if St Etienne want to spark a bidding war for the player and believe they can raise around £17million for the Gabon striker. It would be a major statement of intent from Ashley if he was prepared to go to the French club’s asking price – but also a boon for the new management structure at the club.
Kinnear is understood to have stressed to Ashley that delivering a signing would give his new role instant credibility and lift the club’s players, who – minus those involved in internationals since the end of last season – are set to report back for medical tests and the start of pre-season training on Wednesday.
Kinnear is yet to come to the North East and his diary is led by the business that he is trying to do alongside Carr, of whom he spoke effusively about last week. The club’s chief scout recommended Aubameyang to the Newcastle owner over a year ago, and has made another convincing case to Ashley – who watched him in person at the turn of the year. Although the summer has been quiet so far, club sources believe activity will hot up this month.
Although no offer has been made for the midfielder, United are braced for interest to be formalised in Yohan Cabaye over the next few weeks. Paris-Saint Germain and Monaco are both interested – along with AS Roma, who are now managed by his former Lille boss Rudi Garcia.
A host of other players have been linked with moves away from St James’ Park – with Cheick Tiote, Sylvain Marveaux and Hatem Ben Arfa all interesting clubs in Russia. Ben Arfa is keen to stay at Newcastle, however.
United are also the number one choice of Aston Villa striker Darren Bent, who has been identified by boss Alan Pardew as a top target for the summer. He has returned from his honeymoon and will seek clarification from the Villans over his future in the coming days having watched from afar as the Kinnear saga unfolded.
Although Villa have let it be known that there have been no official bids, The Journal can reveal Derek Llambias had made contact with officials at the Second City club about a bid before he resigned in the wake of the Kinnear appointment.
Pardew then mentioned his name to Kinnear when they spoke earlier in the month, before the Newcastle manager headed off on a summer break with his family.
:: Blackpool have accepted a bid from Cardiff for Newcastle United target Thomas Ince, according to manager Paul Ince.
The 21-year-old is one of the most sought-after players in the Championship after making his name as a goalscoring midfielder at Bloomfield Road.
Cardiff are looking to strengthen their squad after promotion to the Barclays Premier League, but Paul Ince reckons it is only “50-50” his son will move on.
“Cardiff have come in massively for Thomas, the chairman’s accepted the offer,” he said in an interview with Blackpool’s official Youtube channel.
“I’m not sure what the offer is because I’ve been away, but that’s been accepted, so it’s a case of when he comes back next week, Thomas, we’ll sit down and see what he wants to do.”
Blackpool have been on warm weather training in Portugal, but Ince was given extra time off because of his involvement with England Under-21s and is not due back at the club until a week on Monday.
Paul Ince added: “He loves it here. He said to me, ’I’m in no rush to get to the Premiership, I’m in no rush to leave Blackpool. I think it’s 50-50 at the moment.”