Newcastle United have received mixed news on the transfer front as they step up their attempts to recruit some fresh talent to boost their promotion push. It looks like January will be a busy month for many clubs in the Championship as teams look to bring in new faces either permanently or on short term loan deals.
One of their prime targets, Sheffield United defender Matthew Kilgallon, looks unlikely to be joining the Magpies, while confusion surrounds the future of midfielder Geremi. However, the news that their number one target Jermaine Beckford has handed in a transfer request could improve his chances of moving to St James’ Park. This week Leeds United confirmed that Beckford had submitted a transfer request in the previous month. It is believed that Newcastle have already had a bid of around £1.25m rejected but Leeds are thought to be holding out for a figure closer to the £3m mark. The player certainly showed his quality in Leeds’ surprise FA Cup win over Manchester United with a Man of the Match display. There is no secret that Newcastle are in need of a quick striker who can score goals on a regular basis and Beckford would appear to fit the bill. The majority of the strikers on Newcastle’s books are big powerful target men, with the exception of Peter Lovenkrands, who has been far from prolific. Beckford has already reached 20 goals for the season, although there are some question marks over the player as he is unproven above League One level. It is unlikely Newcastle will go over the £2m mark for a player who will be available for nothing in the summer. There could also be interest from Premier League clubs following his excellent showing against Manchester United.
Chris Hughton appears to be keeping his cards close to his chest and is not worrying about when any possible transfer deals will go through. There would appear to be no set time scale for when any potential new signings will come in. He said: “Something could happen at any time this month. The important thing for the supporters is that they know we are working very hard to get the players we are interested in. You never know what might happen. I know that the fans check the papers and the TV to see how we are getting on, and we are confident that come the end of the window we will bring in what we need.”
Sheffield United centre half Kilgallon was another player who Hughton had publicly admitted interest in. However, a move for Kilgallon would appear to be dead in the water following claims from the player’s agent Paul Masterton. He believes that the player will be staying put with the Blades until the summer when his contract expires. The news is something of a blow to Newcastle as they appeared confident of bringing Kilgallon in in January. Hughton will now have to pursue other defensive targets with Stoke’s Leon Cort, brother of former Newcastle flop Carl, the latest player linked to the club. Blackburn defender Zurab Khizanishvilli could also be set for a surprise return although he hardly set the world alight in his first spell with Newcastle. Meanwhile, confusion surrounds the future of Geremi who appeared to be heading to Turkey. The Cameroon international was paraded on Turkish television in an Ankaragucu shirt but Newcastle officials have not confirmed the deal has gone through. Despite the player travelling to the Africa Cup of Nations, further dialogue between the clubs will be held to thrash out a deal.
Another experienced player who could soon be leaving the Magpies is Nicky Butt, although not until the summer when he will decide on his future. Butt will shortly turn 35 and has been a bit part player so far this season. His contract ends in the summer and he will assess his fitness then before deciding where his future lies with retirement a real possibility. The former Manchester United star said: “I haven’t made any decisions about my future yet. I’m just going to take it as it comes. I’m signed until the summer and I’ll see how I feel then. If I’m offered another deal here I’ll certainly think about it, but it will depend how I feel. If I feel great, I’ll carry on, if I don’t, that’ll be that. I don’t know if the legs have got another season in them yet, but I’m feeling OK at the moment.” Newcastle will not be in action at the weekend as their game at Reading has been postponed due to the wintry conditions both inside and outside the ground.