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Transfer Market

Saturday friendlies suggest these reported Newcastle United transfer targets aren’t imminent

3 years ago

When it comes to Newcastle United transfer targets, the feeling is that those inside the club aren’t experiencing the same levels of urgency as the supporters.

Only two weeks until the season kicks off and 11 days before the transfer window closes, it is quite unbelievable that only one signing has been made.

We are already past the point of any additional signings having any pre-season with Newcastle whatsoever, so all we are left with is whether any belated desperate late action will get extra bodies over the proverbial line.

There hasn’t even been quite the level of even press speculation you could/should have expected. Considering the shocking summer of losing Rafa and half a dozen of last season’s first team squad having left – including a number of key players, with a new Head Coach appointed and only a solitary signing so far, you would have expected the newspapers to be in overdrive.

However, instead we have mainly had the same handful of supposed Newcastle United transfer targets constantly recycled.

Some of them not even making any sense either.

This weekend seeing reports that Newcastle won’t after all be signing Danny Rose because he expected to be paid…like he was ever going to sign for NUFC. Last month he played in the Champions League final and in the semi-finals of the Nations League for England. Plus, Mike Ashley willing to pay a large transfer fee and wages for a 29 year old, how does any of that work?

As for James Tavernier, does anybody really believe that Mike Ashley would pay £10m for a player he let go for a nominal fee five years ago? Quite bizarre when these transfer stories are repeated by all of the newspapers with none of them even questioning the logic of them.

As for more likely signings, all eyes were on Saturday’s friendlies.

Allan Saint-Maximin is clearly a target, Steve Bruce has even admitted that, but we are left waiting to see if Mike Ashley is willing to pay the transfer fee (see below).

Nice included the winger in their squad to play Cardiff on Saturday and Newcastle fans thinking that if a deal is close then surely they won’t play him. The 22 year old was involved and came off the bench for the final 26 minutes.

He will be on hand if there is any progress on a transfer as Nice now go to Burnley on Tuesday and Leicester on Friday but certainly by playing yesterday, surely no imminent announcement.

Meanwhile 20 year old left-back Stanley N’Soki is once again heavily linked after Newcastle tried to buy him last summer.

The usually reliable GFFN reported yesterday that N’Soki is desperate to come to the Premier League and Newcastle are definitely in for him, with one offer already rejected.

He was an unused sub as PSG lost on penalties to Inter Milan in a friendly on Saturday BUT that match was played in Macau, so it is not as though we are suddenly going to be told that N’Soki has passed his medical and is going to be announced imminently.

As it stands, only one player signed and a net spend of around £7m, whilst a massive saving on wages as Rafa and his coaches as well as Rondon, Perez, Joselu, Diame, Kenedy and Barreca now paid by others. With Joelinton, Steve Bruce and his staff, plus the returning loan players nowhere near that wage level.

You would think surely there is an acceptance of a desperate need for more signings of quality but there again, whose can we rely on to make that call?

Steve Bruce is just there to train and pick the team so do Ashley, Charnley and whichever shadowy figures behind any decision making, really appreciate the position NUFC are in?

The only thing that will sweep away the doubts is action and there looks to be very little sign of the right level of urgency being shown.

The Mag – 26 July 2019:

Wednesday brought news from France on Allan Saint-Maximin, with L’Equipe saying  Nice had dropped their unrealistic valuation of £36m.

The report saying that the Ligue 1 club were now getting more realistic as they needed a sale sorted to help provide the funds for Patrick Vieira to land his own signings (see below).

Wednesday also saw Steve Bruce confirm that Newcastle United are indeed interested in the tricky winger, stating: ‘He is somebody we have looked at, somebody we have identified, we will see what happens…’

A little unusual to have a manager (or head coach) confirming transfer targets, especially at Newcastle.

With L’Equipe talking of still a difference in valuation of around £9m (Nice wanting £22.5m and Newcastle hoping for £13.5m), there then followed media claims of two separate NUFC bids turned down, as they failed to reach agreement.

Allan Saint-Maximin was left out of Nice’s squad for Wednesday’s 2-0 friendly win against Boavista but on Friday it has been announced that the winger has been included in the French club’s tour of the UK.

An exotic week sees Nice visiting  Cardiff on Saturday, Burnley on Tuesday and Leicester on Friday.

Many people taking his inclusion as a hurry-up sign to Newcastle United but of course the player moving within easy reach of NUFC and club officials, is in reality no barrier to a deal being agreed.

The acid test will be at around 2pm on Saturday and whilst Newcastle’s team will be announced for the game at Preston, at the same time Patrick Vieira will confirm his Nice line-up against Cardiff.

With Nice very keen to get a deal done, if there is a chance of something happening shortly, there is surely no way they will be risking a £20m or so sale by risking injury in a friendly. They are calling Newcastle’s bluff by naming the winger in their friendly squad but in the interests of both to reach agreement.

The 22 year old has decent stats and just as importantly, if not more so, he looks to be an exciting player to watch with ability to take his man on.

Any gap in valuation surely needs Mike Ashley to agree to close it ASAP with only two weeks until the season kicks off, or else if it is felt Nice are asking for far too much, move on to other targets.

The Mag – 24 July 2019:

Monday saw L’Equipe report that Newcastle United were back in for Allan Saint-Maximin.

Nice having dropped their demands for an unrealistic £36m for the 22 year old as the transfer window pushes on.

The Nice manager wanting to move the winger on, largely due to a poor attitude and workrate in the second half of last season, as well as needing to generate funds for his own transfer targets.

The L’Equipe report saying they understood Nice were still looking for around £22.5m but that Newcastle had a valuation closer to £13.5m.

After Joelinton signed on Tuesday, a number of newspapers claimed that other signings would quickly follow.

Now on Wednesday, the Shields Gazette say their information is that Newcastle United representatives have now flown to Nice to tie up a deal for Allan Saint-Maximin.

Whilst he is only 22 like Joelinton, at least Allan Saint-Maximin has had a decent number of games at a good level, with 114 starts in Ligue 1 and a spell in the Bundesliga at Hannover on loan with one league start and 15 sub appearances.

These past two seasons, 60 Ligue 1 starts have seen the winger involved directly in 19 goals, scoring nine and getting ten assists.

If this transfer happens then we are well and truly back on the Mike Ashley path of hoped for future resale value.

The Mag – Monday 22 July 2019:

Newcastle United are making a renewed attempt to buy Allan Saint-Maximin according to reports on Monday morning.

The 22 year old winger has been linked with NUFC throughout the summer, as well as other Premier League clubs.

However, Nice’s valuation of 40m euros (£36m) was ridiculously over optimistic, even when clubs from the cash rich Premier League are allegedly keen.

Now though, L’Équipe report that the Ligue 1 club have accepted they will have to drop their valuation if they are to sell the under 21 French international this summer.

The issue has become more pressing as Patrick Vieira is desperate to make his own signings and time is running out.

Nice are in the middle of a takeover that is set to be formally completed in August but need to generate funds to buy players in the interim. Vieira is said to have identified Sofiane Boufal from Southampton and FC Lorient’s striker Alexis Claude-Maurice, with the Allan Saint-Maximin cash set to go towards funding those deals.

Like Newcastle, Nice are yet to buy a single player this summer. NUFC the only Premier League club yet to make a single signing.

The position as it stands according to L’equipe, is that Nice are prepared to now accept 25m euros (£22.5m) but Newcastle have so far only indicated they will go as high as 15m euros (£13.5m).

As to what is the proper valuation for Allan Saint-Maximin, it is the same as any player, how much another club is willing to pay.

Since joining from Monaco two years ago for £9m, the winger scored three Ligue 1 goals and got seven assists in his first season (2017/18), then six goals and three assists in the French league last season.

Decent but not stunning stats and Patrick Vieira also had a big falling out with the player, due to a perceived lack of commitment and workrate as last season went on, not scoring a single goal after January.

A deal is further complicated by the fact that Moncao are entitled to a 20% sell-on clause from any transfer fee that Nice receive.

The winger looks sure to move on in these remaining  days of the transfer window and with Newcastle desperate for better attacking options, interesting to see what they are prepared to offer for this 22 year old, if indeed he is on their wishlist.


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