With Joe Kinnear understood to be in Germany trying to tie up his first buy as Newcastle United’s director of football, two of the club’s long-term transfer targets are getting ready to move elsewhere.
Kinnear is thought to be negotiating with Borussia Moenchengladbach over a deal for Luuk de Jong ‘s move to St James’ Park. Newcastle would either look to take the Dutchman on loan with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the season or offer the out-of-sorts Papiss Cisse in exchange.
However, it looks as though Tom Ince and Kurt Zouma can be crossed off the list.
Both are players Newcastle have tracked for some time with a view to buying them in future transfer windows.
Despite saying the amount of playing time he expects will be a factor in his next move, Zouma also claimed he would join Chelsea “immediately” if Jose Mourinho followed up his initial contact with a bid.
Blackpool winger Ince, who Newcastle have long admired, is expected in Monaco today to discuss a move to France’s nouveau riche club.
The Magpies had also been looking at 19-year-old St Etienne centre-back Zouma as a potential long-term replacement for Fabricio Coloccini, but always knew they risked being blown out of the water by richer rivals as his talent became known.
Arsenal, both Manchester clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City.
Zouma said: “There was advanced contact with Chelsea last month.
“At the start I thought it was a joke but afterwards I quickly took Mourinho’s call seriously.
“When a great man like Jose Mourinho calls a little player like Kurt Zouma, it’s nice. It doesn’t happen every day and it’s a big sign of respect and confidence.
“If you tell me to go to Chelsea, I’ll go there immediately! Especially after the call from the coach.
“I’m playing my third season in Ligue 1.
“In June, it will be time to go and I will see how things happen elsewhere.”
There is some cause for optimism in a contradictory interview, however, with Zouma indicating he is not set on Stamford Bridge.
He added: “Why not a step up in France? Abroad, it’s make or break, but it’s a risk worth taking.
“I won’t necessarily choose according to the league.
“It will depend on playing time and the state of mind of the coach and the squad.”
De Jong has struggled for form since joining Moenchengladbach last summer. They are happy to let him go as long as they can sign a replacement.
That could even be Cisse, who has only scored three goals this season. The Senegal striker had a successful spell in the Bundesliga with Freiburg, which earned his £10m move to Tyneside.
The Magpies have also been credited with an interest in Vitesse’s Kelvin Leerdam, who can play anywhere in defence, or as a defensive mdifielder.