SWANSEA CITY have insisted that midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will not be leaving South Wales to join Newcastle United this summer.
Shelvey’s name features prominently on a list of midfield targets that the Magpies’ recruitment team intend to pursue this summer, along with Jack Colback, whose Sunderland contract is due to expire next month.
Alan Pardew is especially keen to sign Shelvey, having worked closely with the 22-year-old after giving him his professional debut as a teenager at Charlton Athletic.
The former Liverpool midfielder has enjoyed a successful season at the Liberty Stadium though, and Swans boss Garry Monk is adamant he will not moving anywhere in the close season.
“I don’t think the club can afford to let Jonjo go,” said Monk, whose managerial future will be decided at the end of the season. “He is a player with really good potential, the type we want to have, and he is happy here.
“Even if Newcastle are interested, Jonjo is one who has to stay here – and I think he is happy at Swansea.
“He has learned a lot this season. It took him a while to settle after coming from Liverpool, but in the last three or four games, he has really stepped up.”
Whether Monk’s warning is sufficient to cool Newcastle’s interest remains to be seen, but having watched their side produce a string of sub-standard displays in the second half of the season, Pardew, Graham Carr (chief scout) and Lee Charnley (managing director) have discussed a shared desire to make significant changes this summer.
Up to eight new signings are anticipated, with Montpellier’s Benjamin Stambouli and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette both the subject of strong interest that is likely to result in a formal approach at the end of the season.
Newcastle’s recruitment team will also have to decide on Luuk de Jong’s future this month, with the Dutchman still keen to turn his loan move from Borussia Monchengladbach into a permanent transfer despite his struggles in a black-and-white shirt since moving to Tyneside in January.
De Jong, who returns to the squad for this afternoon’s game with Cardiff City after recovering from injury, is still to score his first goal as a Newcastle player, and there must be reluctance to shell out the fee of around £6.5m that is understood to have been agreed when the loan deal was finalised.
However, having tracked de Jong for the best part of four years, there is clearly a long-standing admiration of the player within Newcastle’s scouting team, and Pardew has previously spoken about the 23-year-old’s positive influence on the training ground.
He is available to start today’s game, but Pardew has indicated that he has already seen enough to make a firm decision on the Holland international’s future.
“It’s a decision we will make in the summer, but he doesn’t have to start the next two games for us to do that,” he said. “I think we’ve seen enough.”
Newcastle have also been linked with 22-year-old Nigerian midfielder Joel Obi, who is currently on a season-long loan at Parma from his parent club, Inter Milan.
As well as stepping up their interest in a number of summer targets, Newcastle’s management group will also spend the next few weeks discussing external interest in a number of their own players.
Hatem Ben Arfa’s future will be at the top of the list of things to be resolved, with the winger expected to leave St James’ Park this summer after a series of well-publicised fall-outs with Pardew and a number of his team-mates.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with Ben Arfa, and sources on Merseyside claim the Anfield club are hoping to use the recent controversies over the 27-year-old’s conduct to drive through a cut-price £6m deal.
Given Ben Arfa will enter the final year of his current contract this summer, Newcastle could eventually settle for something close to that fee.
Tim Krul’s future is also up for debate, with the goalkeeper understood to be extremely frustrated at his anticipated absence from Holland’s World Cup squad.
If, as looks likely, he misses out on a place in Brazil, Krul will inevitably question whether Newcastle’s absence from Europe, and failure to challenge for a top-six place this season, has hampered his international ambitions.
AC Milan have previously been strongly linked with the 26-year-old, but reports in Italy claim the Serie A side have now switched their attentions to Federico Marchetti, with talks described as being at an advanced stage.