Newcastle United are set for talks with Luuk de Jong’s agent next week as they mull over a deal for the Holland striker.
De Jong is still waiting to open his account for the Magpies since making a loan move in January but the club have not closed the door on brokering a permanent deal for the 23-year-old, who has spoken of his desire to join United in the summer.
Newcastle are looking to bring in three new forwards in the close season as part of a squad overhaul and Papiss Cisse’s serious knee injury has made the summer search even more urgent.
Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette is a priority target but there remains interest in de Jong (pictured right) – at the right price. Although he has struggled to score goals during a tough run, Newcastle have seen signs of improvement despite his slow start to life on Tyneside.
United have agreed a fee with Borussia Monchengladbach for his permanent transfer but want to talk to de Jong’s representative before deciding on their next move. They are understood to have other options and want to move quickly to seal deals after the end of a damaging season.
Unless they make substantial progress in their recruitment drive, Newcastle’s striking options will be decidedly threadbare when the club return for pre-season in July.
Shola Ameobi is yet to start contract talks with the club and Loic Remy has indicated that he will wait until after the World Cup before confirming his intentions next season.
His appearance at Arsenal on Sunday – although Arsene Wenger insisted it was not at his invitation – did not bode particularly well for Newcastle’s hopes of retaining arguably their most consistent performer of the campaign.
Papiss Cisse’s knee injury may also rule him out of the start of pre-season which would leave Newcastle with just Yoan Gouffran and rookie Adam Armstrong to pick from – if they don’t manage to negotiate deals for strikers in the close season.
De Jong and Lacazette are two names being considered by Newcastle, who were also linked with Hertha Berlin forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga yesterday.
Newcastle also have an interest in Tenerife forward Ayoze Perez but interest is understood to have cooled as the young Spanish forward has made substantial wage demands.
De Jong’s desire to stay onTyneside may depend on fitting into Newcastle’s wage structure, with United intent on staying within budget as part of their substantial squad overhaul.
The player appears keen to clinch a permanent deal. Last month he said: “I hope to be important for the team, and after this season, I hope to stay. I like it (English football). It’s more physical than Germany and Holland.”
There were more positive noises from United yesterday when Bob Moncur (pictured right) – a club ambassador – said that he believed there would be money to spend at Newcastle this summer.
“Quite clearly there has got to be a lot of work done before the start of next season,” he said. “I understand that there is money to spend this summer in strengthening the squad. That said that is not as easy as it sounds in the modern day transfer market. Clearly that has to be done. That’s a fact, new players are needed for next season. But at least there is a solution.”
As United look to next season, there remains a measure of uncertainty about Alan Pardew’s future. The Newcastle boss will today address the media for the first time since the hostile reception that he was afforded at St James’ Park last weekend.
He admits that it has been a blow to see the tide of public opinion turn against him.
He said: “Obviously, I’m a little bit sad about the situation but my resolve has to be strong to make sure the players are ready for Liverpool.
“We need to go to Anfield and put in a top performance.”