Tom Ince has emerged as a target for Newcastle United as the makings of a new transfer blueprint start to take shape at St James’ Park.
Director of football Joe Kinnear – who has been in the headlines again for taking a swipe at Alan Shearer – is understood to be receptive to Alan Pardew’s call for more domestic talent to be brought into United’s squad.
As well as Darren Bent and defender James Tomkins, Blackpool midfielder Ince – who would be interested in a move to Tyneside – is understood to have been mentioned.
Having acknowledged the disappointing contribution of his engine room to United’s poor goals total, Pardew wants more goal threat from midfield next season and believes Ince could provide that. The England Under-21 winger is set to leave Bloomfield Road this summer and there is interest from Cardiff, Crystal Palace and former club Liverpool in the player. A fee in excess of £5million has been touted by his current club Blackpool.
After Kinnear’s incredible appointment last weekend, there is a measure of muddle over where United’s recruitment goes from here.
The Journal understands United are not about to jettison their extensive scouting work in Belgium, Holland and France, but Kinnear has been tasked with carrying out a “thorough review” of what went wrong on the training ground last season, so there is room for manoeuvre in their recruitment strategy.
Current chief scout Graham Carr will still oversee scouting, but it appears Kinnear will play a part in the collaborative effort of Newcastle’s transfers. With every single member of club staff having been told not to comment on Kinnear’s appointment – with the exception of the new director of football, ironically – there is still a measure of confusion about where Newcastle’s summer goes from here.
With Pardew on holiday and Kinnear himself due for a short, pre-arranged break in the next week or so, there is a danger that Newcastle’s new team might not all meet face to face until the start of pre-season in three weeks.
In the meantime, there will be an office built for Kinnear at the stadium, although he insists he will be based at the training ground most of the time. These are the issues that Newcastle fans want to see ironed out – not the old ground that Kinnear covered in the Sunday Times over the weekend. The newly-installed director of football spoke of his disappointment at the Talksport interview and also reopened the developing feud between himself and the club’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer, who he said “did not have a clue” about coaching.
“What Shearer says is diabolical,” he was quoted as saying. “This is a guy who hasn’t got a club about coaching.
“Good in five-a-sides, though, so they tell me. The last game of the season he came up with the master idea of playing Damien Duff at left-back.
“Damien is one of the best left-wingers in the business. But he can’t tackle. And we went down with an own goal from Damien. Shearer keeps slagging me off. He is being disrespectful to me. I am entitled to fight back.” In a wide-ranging interview, Kinnear also touched on the Talksport interview and his infamous mispronunciation of Yohan Cabaye’s name.
“I did it (the interview) as a favour and I am so disappointed. I was on air and he switched me to the other presenter. I thought I was going to speak to Bobby (Gould) about the old days.”
On Cabaye, he blamed journalists for making too much of his mangled pronunciation.
“Yohan is a brilliant player and I didn’t pronounce his name right. But I didn’t say “Kebab”. I said “Keba” and they put the “b” onto it. They made a meal of it, no pun intended,” he said.
“Typical journalists, but it is my own fault and I regret what I said about the supporters.”