As if the need for Newcastle United to make a transfer breakthrough wasn’t pressing enough, this morning’s release of the fixtures for the 2018-19 season should have further focused minds.

Newcastle face Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in their opening five games, so it will surely be imperative that their summer signings are bedded in by the time the season kicks off. As things stand, though, returning loanee Martin Dubravka remains their only addition.

How might that change? Well, long-term favourite Bas Dost has emerged as a strong transfer contender in the last few days after cancelling his contract with Sporting Lisbon.

The Northern Echo:

Dost was one of a number of Sporting players who were attacked by a group of the club’s ‘Ultras’ at the end of last season, and having once been valued at around €20m, there is a chance the striker could be available for nothing this summer.

However, the situation is extremely messy, with Sporting threatening to take legal action, and until Dost’s contractual status is conclusively resolved, Newcastle will not be making any attempts to sign the Dutch international.

The Magpies have also been linked with Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye, who was the subject of interest from Tyneside in January.

Newcastle’s scouting team looked at Ndiaye at the turn of the year, but the midfielder joined Stoke City from Galatasaray for £14m.

He was unable to prevent the Potters dropping out of the Premier League last season, and is expected to leave the Britannia Stadium this summer.

Ndiaye is understood to have a relegation release clause in the contract he signed at the turn of the year, and Newcastle could opt to make a move for the 27-year-old.


Tony Pulis is keen to make midfield changes this summer, with Mo Besic a leading option after he impressed during his loan spell from Everton last season.

However, the Boro boss is also looking elsewhere, and sources in Yorkshire claim the Teessiders have lodged an interest in Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan.

Bannan joined Sheffield Wednesday in 2015, and helped the Owls reach the play-offs in two of his three seasons at Hillsborough.

The Northern Echo: Barry Bannan appears dejected after the final whistle

Wednesday’s squad is expected to undergo a series of changes this summer, and Bannan is one of the players who could move on.

The 28-year-old would add some creativity to the Boro midfield, although fellow Championship side Birmingham City, led by former Boro boss Garry Monk, are also understood to be interested.

Boro have also been linked with Bannan’s Hillsborough team-mate, Fernando Forestieri, who is another player expected to leave South Yorkshire this summer as the Sheffield Wednesday hierarchy attempt to address their club’s financial difficulties.


Having missed out on Jason Naismith – a Scottish-based defender who joined Peterborough United – Sunderland could be set for more disappointment in their pursuit of Florian Kamberi.

Kamberi might play for Swiss side Grasshoppers, but he spent the second half of last season on loan at Hibernian and is well known to Sunderland boss Jack Ross.

Ross is interested in signing the 23-year-old striker, but having been impressed by his performances at Easter Road, Hibs have held detailed discussions with Grasshoppers officials about a permanent transfer.

Sunderland should be in a position to match whatever Hibs offer, but the Swiss media claim Kamberi enjoyed his time in Edinburgh and is keen to return to the Scottish Premier League.

In terms of outgoings, Wahbi Khazri continues to be the subject of considerable interest, although with the World Cup beginning later today, it is unlikely that the winger’s future will be resolved until Tunisia’s involvement in Russia is at an end.

The Northern Echo:

However, Turkish club Besiktas have become the latest club to contact Sunderland to discuss Khazri’s future.

Besiktas are in the market for a winger after their former loanee, Brazilian midfielder Anderson Talisca, turned down the chance of a permanent move to Turkey in order to join Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

They regard Khazri as an attractive alternative, although they could struggle to pay the winger’s wages. Sunderland do not want to be a in a position where Khazri leaves, but they still have to pay a proportion of his wages while he plays elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s backroom overhaul has continued with the departure of head of performance Adrian Lamb and physiotherapist Dave Billingsley.