Six incomings and five outgoings on Tyneside so far this summer has been the hallmark of Rafa Benitez’s revolution, and it appears the club are not done just yet on the transfer front. A creative player in the Georginio Wijnaldum mould will be at the top of Rafa’s wishlist, with work potentially being done behind the scenes already.
The worst kept secret in world football is that Moussa Sissoko has issued a ‘come and get me’ plea to every top flight club in Europe, meanwhile want-away winger Florian Thauvin is reportedly still dissatisfied with life in the North East, but with no potential suitors willing to pay the £10m+ valuation for the Frenchman, he has had to remain a Newcastle United player, for the time being.
In relation to further incomings, an FA licensed intermediary (agent) tweeted a photograph revealing he was at St James’ Park
, implying that a meeting was taking place. The agent in question is a representative of Ace Players, and represents the likes of new Aston Villa signing Tommy Elphick. Interestingly, the Ace Players Twitter account (@AndyBellUK) follows Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri, a player which Newcastle could possibly be looking at signing following his 15-goal haul in last season’s Championship season which saw Wednesday reach the Play-Off Final.
While Forestieri is represented by a different agency, it is possible that Ace Players work with the Wednesdayman in a consultancy role, which could imply that preliminary talks are being held between the two parties. Signing a proven goalscorer in the Championship could be vital to Newcastle United in the bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, and in an attempt to replace Wijnaldum’s goals from midfield.
However, it is pure speculation at present, especially considering Forestieri has a contract at Sheffield Wednesday that runs until 2019, but one thing is clear, United will be wanting to bolster their creative options having sold Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool for £25m and Andros Townsend to Crystal Palace for £13m. With Sissoko and possibly Thauvin heading for the exit door too, it leaves Newcastle in a strong financial position but lacking a star man in a playmaker role behind the main striker.
UPDATE: Since publishing, several followers have tweeted in to inform us he is the agent of transfer listed Tottenham midfielder, Alex Pritchard. Whether this has anything to do with the meeting remains to be seen, but it would be hardly surprising considering recent reports linking us with the England youth international.
With regards to the Thauvin situation, reports in Italy claim that Lazio were close to agreeing a deal for the ex-Marseille man but baulked at the £2m loan fee followed by an obligatory £9m payment should Thauvin feature in enough matches for the Serie A side, a system similar to the deals that saw Davide Santon, Remy Cabella and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa leave permanently after initial loan spells.
United’s financial muscle could yet be further supplemented with the sale of Ivorian enforcer Cheick Tiote to Al Jazira of the UAE. While it has been reported that United have turned down a £5m bid for the 30-year old, it is possible that the oil-rich Emirates club will return with a higher bid in an attempt to prize him away from the second division of English football.
Newcastle kick off the English Football League season at Craven Cottage on Friday 5th August, facing off against Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham side. Following a successful pre-season, Benitez will be hoping to have a successful transfer window by acquiring all of his top targets, preferably before the dreaded Deadline Day, and in an ideal situation, before a ball is kicked in a competitive fixture. No indication has been made by the club that there will be no further incomings, and murmurings around the club’s training ground in Benton, is that Rafa still has a number of players he wishes to pursue, of which one of them could be Fernando Forestieri.