The son of West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan was yesterday forced to quickly retract a tweet suggesting Johnny Heitinga was set to join Newcastle United.
The Magpies have ruled out a move for the 30-year-old, who is keen to leave Everton after barely featuring under manager Roberto Martinez this season. His only appearances this season came in the League Cup.
Heitinga can play in the centre of defence, or holding midfield, two areas were the Magpies are reasonably well stocked despite Fabricio Coloccini’s medial knee ligament injury.
West Ham were interested in the player, famously sent off in the last World Cup final. But Jack Sullivan, teenage son of David, tweeted yesterday the Hammers expected to miss out on the player, adding “We think he’s chosen Newcastle ahead of us”.
He was soon forced to backtrack, however, tweeting an hour later “We now understand Heitinga’s decision was not influenced by interest from any other club” – presumably after a quiet word from the Magpies.
Captain Coloccini is expected to be ruled out for four to six weeks after picking up his injury in the second half of the New Year’s Day defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
While the Argentine’s absence will be a loss to Newcastle, they have cover in the form of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Steven Taylor. Yanga-Mbiwa had a mixed start to the season, impressing in some games but looking uncomfortable against some of the Premier League’s more physical forwards, none more so than Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. Since then the Frenchman has slipped behind Mike Williamson in the pecking order.
Taylor’s season is yet to get going. His only appearance came in the opening game of the season, and was cut short when he was sent off after 48 minutes at Manchester City. Injuries have slowed his progress, and his agent recently revealed he was keen to go on loan in the second half of the season to get more time on the pitch. Coloccini’s injury may have put a stop to that.
With the team having had such a strong first half of the season – they are eighth in the Premier League – adding to the squad is a low priority for Pardew, who will probably be content to let director of football Joe Kinnear keep an eye out for value-for-money deals rather than pressing for certain signings.
On Wednesday Pardew described the transfer window as “Something we’re going to look at but whether we do or not will depend on circumstances and who we think is right for us and the club. We’ll see.”
Newcastle are reported to have contacted Montpellier to register their interest in another French player, Remy Cabella.
The 23-year-old can play out wide, but has mainly been used in the hole this season. New coach Rolland Courbis has given Cabella a free role in either a Christmas tree or 3-4-2-1 formation.
Although not yet a full international, Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has publicly stated Cabella would cost £14m to buy.