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North-East football round-up (Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough)
NEWCASTLE UNITED are poised to make a formal offer for Pierre-Michel Lasogga after Hamburg called off their pursuit of the Hertha Berlin striker.
Hamburg have temporarily withdrawn their interest in Lasogga after they were quoted a £9.5m price tag for a player who is about to enter the final year of his contract in the German capital.
Having spent last season on loan with Hamburg, Lasogga would like to complete a permanent transfer to the Bundesliga side.
However, with talks having hit a deadlock, the 22-year-old has been instructed to report to Hertha Berlin for the start of pre-season training next week.
“They (Hertha Berlin’s price demands) are completely unrealistic and definitely unreasonably high,” said Hamburg sporting director Oliver Kreuzer. “It’s almost off the roof. We should be able to agree a more realistic package given the contract situation of the player.”
Newcastle officials are aware of the breakdown in discussions, and are pondering whether to enter the fray themselves, having already held preliminary discussions with senior Hertha Berlin figures earlier this month.
The Magpies would be equally reluctant to shell out more than £9m for Lasogga, who scored 17 Bundesliga goals in a struggling Hamburg side last season, but could use their willingness to pay the whole of any transfer fee up front as a bargaining chip in negotiations.
Despite having spoken of his preference for remaining in Germany, Lasogga would be willing to consider a move to the Premier League.
With Bafetimbi Gomis off the agenda following his move to Swansea City, Lasogga and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette are the two strikers at the top of Newcastle’s wanted list this summer.
Long-term target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also remains under consideration, but Borussia Dortmund have indicated a desire to retain the striker, who was also linked with a possible move to Chelsea yesterday.
Sunderland have taken up the option of extending Vito Mannone’s contract by another two years, securing the services of last year’s Player of the Season until 2017.
Mannone’s Wearside future was called into question after Costel Pantilimon arrived from Manchester City earlier this month.
However, the Italian has dismissed suggestions he is looking to move elsewhere, and Sunderland’s decision to extend his contract – a move that has been formally registered with the Premier League – underlines Gustavo Poyet’s continued faith in his abilities.
Ignacio Scocco’s Sunderland future will become clearer next month when his agent flies into the North-East for talks.
Argentinian side Newell’s Old Boys would like to take Scocco back to South America, but the Black Cats are adamant they will not sustain a loss on the £3.2m they shelled out to sign the striker in January, and Newell’s do not have the financial muscle to match Sunderland’s demands.
Middlesbrough expect to learn whether they have been able to complete a move for Juanfran over the weekend, with competing interest from abroad meaning their pursuit of the full-back remains in the balance.
Two Italian sides – one believed to be in Serie A and another in Serie B – have contacted Real Betis to express an interest in the right-back, whose future should be clearer by the time Middlesbrough’s players return to Rockliffe Park for the start of pre-season training on Monday.