Club Focus – Newcastle – Magpies turn down offer for Carroll

With no game at the weekend the focus on Tyneside instead turned to the future of their leading marksman Andy Carroll. An offer of £23 million is believed to have been made by Tottenham Hotspur, but it has been rejected by Newcastle – who described the bid as ‘paltry’. Spurs have been long-term admirers of Carroll following his prolific first season as a Premier League regular that has seen the 22-year-old score 11 goals.

On Saturday a Newcastle official told SkySports News: “The club would like to make it clear for the very last time that Carroll is simply not for sale.” The Magpies have reiterated a desire to keep hold of the England international on an almost weekly basis since the start of the season and have up to now been as good as their word. With the transfer window due to slam shut at 11pm today it remains to be seen whether Tottenham or any other clubs attempt to prise Carroll away with a megabucks deal. Up to now Carroll has pledged his long-term future to his boyhood team and signed a new contract in October. But in modern day football every player has a price and one day Newcastle may be forced to sell their top asset.

In other transfer news Stephen Ireland could be set to become the second player to join the Magpies in the transfer window. The Aston Villa midfielder spent Sunday undergoing a medical on Tyneside which suggests he could well be on his way north. The biggest stumbling block to the loan deal has been the player’s wages however a compromise may have finally been agreed. If Ireland joins on deadline day he will become the second addition following a permanent transfer for Hatem Ben Arfa.

Spanish striker Xisco may be heading out of the St James’ Park exit door with a return to his homeland in the offing. The £5.7million signing had been linked with a surprise move to Middlesbrough a few days ago but he could now be heading back to his former club Deportivo La Coruna. Since making two substitute appearances earlier in the season, Xisco has fallen a long way down the pecking order. Despite his lack of game time, the player is believed to be on wages of around £50,000 per week. Since joining in 2008 the move has not worked for both the player and the club so a permanent separation would be the best outcome.

Goalkeeper Steve Harper has refused to set a points target for the end of the season despite their good start to 2011 in the league. Most experts believe that a total of 40 points will be enough to guarantee safety in a season of shock results. With 30 points on board already the Magpies have 15 games to reach that milestone. They look set to surpass their points total when they were relegated in 2009 with only 34 points. The veteran ‘keeper said: “Nobody’s setting any targets in terms of points, or anything like that. It’s an old clich

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