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European clubs wary of Magpies magic as Black Cats stay quiet
A COUPLE of bids totalling £12m inside 24 hours for two players offers up an indication Newcastle United are trying to help Alan Pardew add to his squad.
With both FC Twente and Lille rejecting offers of around £8m and £4m for Luuk de Jong and Mathieu Debuchy, respectively, it seems the Magpies have fallen victim to their own success.
The ability of chief scout Graham Carr to spot promising talent on the continent, coupled with the effective manner in which Newcastle have gone about buying such players, has caught the eye.
Cheik Tiote (3.5m from Twente), Hatem Ben Arfa (£5m, Marseille) and Yohan Cabaye (£4.5m, Lille) are the main three. All of whom would now cost considerably more than what Newcastle paid out for them.
Even Papiss Cisse, whose fee was £9m from Freiburg in January, has seen his value at least double after scoring 13 goals in his first 14 matches for the Tyneside club.
And should Demba Ba move on then that is likely to be a £7m mark up after just one 16-goal season at St James' Park after arriving on a free from West Ham.
While such a success rate has highlighted Carr's ability to spot talent and Newcastle's eye for a bargain, it has also made clubs wary of the Newcastle recruitment system.
Both Twente and Lille - two have those clubs to accepted deals with Newcastle before - are determined to hold out for more this time around.
Now Newcastle are faced with a dilemma. Do they alter their transfer policy and spend more on their priority targets or look elsewhere?
A £15m fee, which is what Twente want for de Jong, would seem a stretch too far for Mike Ashley's Newcastle. With clubs around Europe interested in the Holland striker, Steve McClaren's Twente will be confident of getting somewhere close.
Lille, on the other hand, are well aware of the growing interest in France full-back Debuchy from clubs such as Inter Milan and Chelsea - so they are also more than happy to keep Newcastle waiting.
Then there is Vurnon Anita. The Ajax midfielder was the subject of a £4m offer from Newcastle last week, only for the Amsterdam giants to demand double for the 23-year-old.
And with just weeks remaining until Pardew leads his squad back in to pre-season training, the Newcastle boss will have to consider his alternatives.
Ahead of a campaign when Newcastle - provided they progress through the early round of the Europa League - will be faced with a packed fixture list, Pardew knows strengthening is a priority.
Can he afford to risk holding out for the likes of Lille or Twente lowering their asking prices for his top targets?
Or should he just look elsewhere, with the likes of Crystal Palace's Nathaniel Clyne or Wigan striker Victor Moses among those under consideration.
One thing clear is that clubs are waking up to Carr's knack of unearthing top talent on the cheap.
Newcastle, who are determined to get value for money, look set to have a fight on their hands to sign who they want.
IT REMAINS all too quiet at Sunderland, on the other hand.
There is plenty of time for Martin O'Neill to make the adjustments he would like but the word from the Stadium of Light is that there remains nothing imminent.
And there is a sense among the supporters that O'Neill will be trusted to make the right changes during the close-season - so he should.
But it would be nice for the Black Cats, who have already lost out on Blackburn's Junior Hoilett, to have made just a hint of progress on the transfer front under the Northern Irishman.
With the exception of playing down more rumours about the future of Stephane Sessegnon - linking him with a move to Tottenham - there has been very little for supporters to discuss.
That in itself is a talking point. So, as Euro 2012 starts to enter the final stages, the next few weeks could be when Sunderland start to make some moves on the transfer front. Aiden McGeady anyone?