Newcastle club captain Kevin Nolan appears to be heading out of the exit door after being given permission to speak to West Ham. Nolan has recently become unsettled on Tyneside after he turned down an offer of a new contract extension. An initial bid from the Hammers was turned down but Newcastle officials have accepted an improved offer. If the 28 year old agrees to drop down a division, he will be re-united with his former Bolton manager Sam Allardyce.
Nolan has emerged as a highly influential figure over the past two seasons both on and off the pitch. His 30 goals in the last two campaigns have been a key part in the Magpies’ rejuvenation following their relegation in 2009. A particular highlight was a hat-trick against local rivals Sunderland which should ensure he departs Tyneside on good terms with the fans. Nolan has also been a leading figure in the Newcastle dressing room since being made captain by Chris Hughton. He was part of a group of senior players including Steve Harper and Joey Barton who kept the club going through troubled waters.
It is hard to see how Newcastle will replace Nolan’s goalscoring ability from midfield that was a key part of their play. One of Nolan’s closest allies Joey Barton tweeted: “Just on my way to Ascot, feel sick. Great player, leader, captain, person, trainer and mostly a friend for life. Devastated to see him SOLD.” Barton also suggested on his Twitter account that himself, Jose Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez could follow their captain out of St James’ Park. Barton and Enrique would appear to be the most likely to depart as both players are out of contract next summer. So far Spanish defender Enrique has refused to sign a new contract despite being offered a lucrative deal. Manager Alan Pardew could be facing up to the prospect of having to replace three of last season’s most impressive performers.
Alan Pardew is continuing his pursuit of new players following the recent arrival of French midfielder Yohan Cabaye. The latest name to be linked with the Magpies is Paris Saint Germain striker Mevlut Erding. Pardew is keen to bring in a new striker at the earliest opportunity with the club currently short on striking talent. In the past week Pardew has received a double blow as two of his top targets have turned down a move to Tyneside. French forward Kevin Gameiro has joined PSG despite Newcastle making a “fantastic offer” for the former Lorient player. Another target Gervinho looks likely to join a Premier League rival with Arsenal seemingly keen on the winger.
Despite losing out on two of his top targets Pardew still appears keen to continue the recruitment of France-based players. In an interview with The Journal newspaper Pardew declared his interesting in striker Mevlut Erding. He said: “Erding has always been on our radar. He’s a very good player and that is all I will say at the moment.” Erding is a 24-year-old Turkish international who has been interesting the Magpies since last summer. He scored 12 times for PSG in the past season and averages almost a goal every other game throughout his career in the French league. Newcastle were strongly linked with Erding last summer, but did not have the same money to spend as they do this transfer window.
Another alternative who appears to be interesting the Magpies is West Ham’s Demba Ba. The 26-year-old impressed in the second half of last season, scoring seven times for the Hammers, but he was unable to save them from relegation. Ba is believed to be available on a free transfer although Newcastle face competition from Everton for his signature. There are also doubts over his long term fitness after he failed a medical with Stoke City last January.