Newcastle United pass up chance to sign Wilfried Zaha

The Journal understands Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha has not been included on a list of potential January signings for Newcastle United

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Wilfried Zaha of Manchester United in action
Wilfried Zaha of Manchester United in action

Newcastle United have passed on the opportunity to sign Wilfried Zaha in January.

Zaha has been heavily linked with a temporary switch to St James’ Park in the New Year but The Journal understands that he has not been included on a list of potential St James’ Park targets – and the club are not likely to revisit the interest that they showed in the forward last January.

That is despite Manchester United making it clear to their Premier League rivals that the England under-21 winger is available in January, and Alan Pardew being a confirmed admirer of the winger in the past.

Although Zaha has his supporters inside St James’ Park – indeed the club made efforts to sign him last year – they believe that they are well stocked in that department.

Instead United are likely to concentrate their efforts on a senior striker able to make an immediate impact on the squad. Italian media linked the club with a loan move for Ishak Belfodil of Inter Milan, who is wanted by Sunderland, but their interest is again centred on the French market that has served them so well in the past.

Pardew has made it clear in recent months that he would favour the domestic market, but United continue to believe that there is little value in looking at established, Premier League-based players. The recent upturn in fortunes with the Ligue 1 players that they signed a year ago has also been held up as justification for continuing to plunder the cross-Channel market.

That means that Zaha has been

scratched off any January wishlist, with David Moyes having to look elsewhere in his bid to get the forward more games. The Manchester United boss revealed on Wednesday that there had been no firm interest in Zaha so far, and that he was “fine” with retaining the player at Old Trafford for the next few months.

“I did say to Wilf if I didn’t feel he was getting enough games, I would consider it,” he said.

“Obviously if we’ve got injuries or other reasons, I wouldn’t take it on board. But the truth is we haven’t had anybody phoning up and wanting to do that at the moment.

“While it’s like that, I am fine.”

United’s January transfer plans are still in their early stages but the club are planning targeted recruitment rather than the kind of wholesale incomings that marked last year’s remarkable window.

Indeed it will be more intriguing to see who Newcastle are prepared to get rid of, with Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse all mooted as possible departures.

Taylor has been linked with QPR – an obvious link to make given Willie McKay’s presence as his agent – but the defender is likely to don a Newcastle shirt for the under-21 side tomorrow as they take on Norwich. Newcastle may also include Sylvain Marveaux and Jonas Gutierrez in their youthful team as they continue.

Meanwhile, United have escaped an FA rap for failing to control their players – although goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman has been hit with an improper conduct charge for his part in the unseemly scenes that occurred at the end Newcastle’s clash with Southampton.

Woodman was sent to the stands for his part in the row and he will now have until December 23 to answer the FA charges, along with Dani Osvaldo – who has also been charged. The incident was sparked by a late tackle on Massadio Haidara that United’s bench took exception to and now the authorities have acted against both clubs.

The FA statement read: “Newcastle United coach Andy Woodman and Southampton player Dani Osvaldo have both been charged by the FA following an incident in the recent fixture.

“Osvaldo has been charged with violent conduct in relation to the incident in the 94th minute of the game at St. James’s Park on Saturday 14 December.

“Meanwhile, Woodman who was sent to the stands following the incident, has been charged with improper conduct. Neither club will face charges.

“Both parties have until 23rd December to respond to the charges.”

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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer