What are the noises coming out of Germany at the moment? Squeals of delight at the thought of Thomas Muller's hat-trick against Portugal? Mutterings of discontent at bailing out half of the EU?

Both of those probably, but the latest German mutterings also suggest that Hamburg are confident of beating Newcastle to the capture of striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

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The Northern Echo:

The Bundesliga club had Lasogga on loan last season, and are willing to throw Norwegian Per Ciljan Skjelbred into the pot in order to secure a deal.

Having seen Skjelbred in action, that must be a pretty sizeable pot. Either way, Newcastle are going to have to dig deep to sign Lasogga, and given Mike Ashley's previous track record, that's unlikely.

A striker remains Newcastle's main priority, but they've also been sniffing around Steven Caulker, who's set to leave Cardiff this summer. Any move would appear to be dependent on Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa returning to France though, and while that might well happen at some stage, it's a fair way off yet.

Meanwhile, Ryan Taylor is hoping to be fit for the start of pre-season training, and if anyone deserves an injury-free run next season, it's surely him.


Having rejected a new deal at Blackpool, and turned down a possible move to Inter Milan, Tom Ince is being touted around half of the Premier League.

Sunderland are the latest club to be linked with the winger, who will be one of the more attractive free agents on offer this summer.

The Northern Echo:

It's easy to imagine Gustavo Poyet fancying Ince, but the Black Cats will face a fair bit of competition if they step up their interest. And Ince will probably end up going where his dad tells him to anyway.

Adam Johnson to Monaco? It would make sense if he was still hanging around with Phil Bardsley given the full-back's track record with casinos.

It might work on the football field as well, with the Ligue 1 side sniffing around the Sunderland winger. Johnson out and Ince in? Unlikely but not impossible.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are awaiting an update from the US on Jozy Altidore's hamstring injury. The striker was due to have scans overnight, but is expected to miss the rest of the World Cup and could well be a doubt for the start of pre-season training.


Another one has bitten the dust when it comes to Boro's pursuit of a new striker, as David Nugent is set to remain at Leicester despite his first-team chances potentially being limited next season.

Boro had been hoping the lure of regular first-team football might have been enough to persuade Nugent to remain in the Championship, but the striker is set to commit himself to the King Power Stadium instead. Or to whatever Leicester are deciding to call their stadium this week.

The Northern Echo:

Nugent, of course, has scored for England. So come on Roy, get him in on Thursday and get the ball lumped up to him.

Boro bosses, meanwhile, have dismissed talk of them making a permanent offer for Sammy Ameobi, who has previously been at the Riverside on loan.

Michael Morrison from Charlton? He's another name who's been linked - but he won't be moving to Middlesbrough either. Clearly Aitor Karanka has decided there's more reasons not to shop for Morrison.