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Magpies close to Anita deal after Tiote blow
NEWCASTLE UNITED have struck a £6.2m deal with Ajax for their highly-rated midfielder Vurnon Anita.
Anita, also interesting Sunderland, is now expected to travel to Tyneside to finalise the move in the hope he will be available to face Tottenham in the Premier League opener on Saturday.
The 23-year-old, who will provide options at left-back and in the middle, has been on Newcastle's radar for months but there was finally a break through over the weekend.
Ajax boss Fran de Boer had wanted him to stay and sign a new deal in the Dutch capital.
However, de Boer was forced to admit defeat yesterday despite playing him in Ajax's Eredivisie fixture with AZ Alkmaar.
He said: "Anita is close to an agreement with Newcastle. He wants to leave so it is the best outcome for the team."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is keen to make progress on the transfer front after weeks of suffering knock backs in his attempts to add to his squad.
And the need to add the versatile Anita became more apparent on Saturday when there fears that key-man Cheik Tiote will miss the visit of Tottenham.
Tiote had to limp off after 68 minutes in the 4-1 friendly defeat at Cardiff City and the next 48 hours will be crucial to his availability.
The Ivory Coast international will be assessed at the club's Benton training complex in the hope the problem can be quickly eradicated.
But Newcastle's concerns are such that they are considering their options ahead of this Saturday's Premier League opener at St James' Park .
Pardew is not short of alternatives in that area, but the squad lacks experience of playing at the hub of the midfield in the top-flight.
Summer signing Gael Bigirimana, just 18, has performed well during pre-season, while Mehdi Abeid and James Perch have both played just in front of the back four before.
But Anita, a versatile player, would be more than capable of playing that position.
Newcastle have been in deep negotiations with Ajax for the last few days and, despite Ajax's hopes to land around £8m, a compromise has been reached.
Newcastle also remain in the hunt for Mathieu Debuchy who has reiterated a desire to leave Lille this summer, despite his part in the weekend 2-1 win over St Etienne.
Debuchy, who must move to England before the August 31 transfer deadline, said: “I heard what the chairman said (about keeping him). The transfer window is open until September 4 (in France). I still want to go and we will see.”
Newcastle are keen to have deals done soon knowing they are due to start their Europa League campaign after facing Tottenham.
It is still not clear when Newcastle will travel to Athens for the first leg of their qualifying round tie with Atrominos.
It is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 23 but the Tyneside club are hoping to have it rearranged for either 24 or 48 hours earlier and are expected to learn today the outcome of their request.
By the time they head to the western suburbs of the Greek capital they will have taken on Tottenham and Newcastle warmed up for that date with a defeat in Cardiff.
The Bluebirds were three up inside ten first half minutes after two Aron Gunarsson goals sandwiched a Joe Ralls strike, all before 26 minutes.
After the restart Newcastle – who did not have Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye or Hatem Ben Arfa to call on – performed better and Shola Ameobi pulled one back from the penalty spot. But Etien Velikonja struck again to re-establish the three goal cushion.
There was also an injury scare for Fabricio Coloccini after taking a knock. He could be withdrawn from Argentina's squad to travel to Germany this week, although Pardew hopes he will be fine for the visit of Tottenham.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Coloccini (Williamson 46), S Taylor (Gosling 63), Santon; R Taylor (Perch 28), Tiote (Amalfitano 71), Marveaux (Vuckic 76), Gutierrez; Obertan (Campbell 84); Ameobi. Sub (not used): Harper (gk).
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