Newcastle United are to step up their transfer activity in the next week with reports that Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy, FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong and Ajax midfielder Vurnon Anita are the club’s top three priority targets. Initial bids for all three players have been lodged but the North East club have yet to agree a fee with their respective clubs.
Reports in the Newcastle Journal say The Magpies have lodged a second bid for French international Mathieu Debuchy after Lille turned down an initial £4 million offer last week. It is thought that Lille are looking for a fee of between £6-7 million for the right-back who has impressed at Euro 2012 and has seen his value increase a few million with his forward-thinking displays.
We would expect thrifty Newcastle to bid no more than £5.5 million for the player, especially when they haven’t yet offloaded current right-back Danny Simpson for whom they were looking to sell for £2-3 million.
Meanwhile the Journal report that Newcastle’s transfer budget for the summer is restricted to £20 million and with Twente wanting at least £12-13 million for Luuk de Jong and Ajax valuing Anita at as much £6 million, they might fall a little short on landing all three men. Transfer negotiations are still ongoing between Newcastle’s representatives and all three clubs.
Meanwhile one man exiting Newcastle in the next few weeks looks set to be Leon Best. The 25-year-old Irish striker is in talks with Blackburn Rovers after the relegated Lancashire club agreed a £3 million fee for his services. The Lancashire Telegraph claim Blackburn look set to finalise the deal in the coming days.
Newcastle purchased Best for £2 million from Coventry in January 2009 when they were half-way through their campaign to escape from the Championship. He initially struggled for goals and through bad form and injuries went months before scoring. In the Premier League, Best showed glimpses of the form he was capable of, often scoring multiple goals in the same game (such as the hat trick against West Ham and two goals against Fulham last season) but would then go weeks and months without scoring, missing hatful of chances and never cementing himself as a first choice striker.
He will be hoping to recapture his old Championship form from his time at Coventry when he scored goals for fun and once worked then under coach Steve Kean at the Ricoh Arena. He had one year left to run on his contract at Newcastle who weren’t looking to extend his deal.