NEWCASTLE UNITED’S summer spending is set to continue this week with the arrival of Nottingham Forest duo Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow.
The Magpies have been tracking Lascelles, who has attracted interest from Arsenal, Tottenham and Queens Park Rangers, for some time having had an offer for the defender turned down in January. However, it appears the Championship club have accepted the highly-rated 20-year-old is destined for the Premier League and have agreed to sell him to Newcastle.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew has also been in the market for a young keeper and Darlow will arrive alongside Lascelles in a double deal that could be worth up to £7m.
The 23-year-old, released by Aston Villa earlier in his career, has been earmarked as a long-term replacement for current number one Tim Krul.
Although both players are regarded as prospects for the future, their arrivals take Newcastle’s summer recruitment tally to nine following the captures of Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback, Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat and Facundo Ferreyra.
That number could reach 11 by the end of the transfer window with another striker still on Pardew’s wish list. The Northern Echo also understands a move from Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier is still on the cards.
Newcastle’s pre-season preparations continue at Huddersfield Town tonight before their final warm-up game against Real Sociedad at St James’ Park on Sunday.
The Magpies have looked sharp during their tours to New Zealand and Germany and defender Steven Taylor has revealed Newcastle’s new head of fitness, Dave Billows, has pushed the players to their limits.
“Pre-season been really, really tough. Dave has come in from Everton and he has been absolutely thrashing the life out of us,” Taylor revealed. “It is a sickly feeling sometimes but the hard work is going to pay off for us. It has been really good and we have been enjoying the pain.
“Dave got us down to hard graft from the very first day. It’s been tough, but great. It’s what you need as a team and everyone has brought into it straight away. Fair play, there have been no complaints as everyone knows how vitally important fitness is in the Premier League these days. The lads have been working very hard, but it has been needed.”
Taylor is in with a chance of starting the opening game of the campaign against Manchester City 12 months after he was sent off at the Etihad Stadium on the first outing of the season.
The defender struggled with injuries after returning from suspension, but having done some extra work before pre-season, Taylor feels he is in great shape.
He said: “I’ve been getting my head down a few times on Tynemouth beach, doing some running. It is great there as I can put the headphones on and run up and down the soft sand. It works.
“I did it for two or three weeks before the start of pre-season training, taking advantage of the soft sand and the hundreds of steps to get you down on the beach.
“It’s difficult but it is something I’ve really want to do after coming back from my Achilles injury and it seemed to do the trick.
“I want to get back to where I was fitness-wise and strength-wise that I was before my Achilles tendon injury. I have got the feeling that I am getting back to those sorts of levels.
“I want to hit the ground running and feel great every time I go out on the football pitch and so a little bit of extra training won’t do me any harm at all. My legs have never felt better. Condition wise I have never felt as good in pre-season.”