WITH the transfer window now open, Newcastle United’s preparations for the new Premier League season are gathering pace. Or at least they would be if they could break the series of deadlocks that have proved so frustrating in the last few weeks.

The Magpies are attempting to make progress on a number of different fronts, but have been unable to complete most of the key deals Eddie Howe has been targeting since the start of the summer.

Where do things currently stand on the transfer front? And have Newcastle reached the stage where they are having to seriously consider alternative options to ensure they do not leave themselves short?


The Northern Echo: England goalkeeper Nick Pope during a training session at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Monday June 13, 2022.

After a period of relative stability, this summer will witness a major overhaul of Newcastle’s goalkeeping department.

Freddie Woodman is on the verge of completing a season-long loan to Preston, with a view to a permanent deal in 12 months’ time that means his time on Tyneside is effectively at an end, with Karl Darlow also expected to leave this summer. Middlesbrough have held talks over a loan deal for Darlow, with a number of other Championship clubs also interested in the 31-year-old.

Martin Dubravka finished last season as Newcastle’s established number one, and Howe wants the Slovakian to remain an integral part of his squad.

However, he wants some experienced competition, hence his interest in England international Nick Pope, who is keen to leave Burnley following the Clarets’ relegation to the Championship.

Newcastle held discussions over Dean Henderson, who is set to join Nottingham Forest from Manchester United, but have decided that Pope is a better bet. Talks are ongoing over the 30-year-old, with new Burnley boss Vincent Kompany having accepted that Pope will be moving on this summer.


The Northern Echo: File photo dated 10-12-2020 of Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer (left) and Lille's Sven Botman. Newcastle are understood to have stepped back from negotiations to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, but are maintaining an interest in Sevilla's Diego

Newcastle’s pursuit of Sven Botman began in January, but so much has been said and written about the Dutchman that you could be forgiven for thinking the club had been trying to sign him for years.

The framework of a deal for the Dutch centre-half has been agreed with Lille, with Newcastle willing to pay around €30m up front, with a further €10m of add-ons potentially kicking in over the course of their proposed contract.

However, AC Milan’s interest has complicated the situation all summer, with Botman seemingly keen on a switch to the San Siro where Champions League football is on the agenda next season. AC Milan are either unwilling or unable to match Newcastle’s offer though, with a total package of around €25m currently representing their financial limitations.

Newcastle’s recruitment team have displayed considerable patience so far, but crunch time is approaching with Howe’s first-team squad due to return for the start of pre-season training at the start of next month. Botman, who is currently on holiday after post-season international duty with the Netherlands Under-21s, will have to make a final decision over his future soon.

Alternative options have been discussed, and while Howe opted against making a move for James Tarkowski, who is set to join Everton, he does have an interest in Fulham centre-half Tosin Adarabioyo, who is involved in a contractual stand-off with the Cottagers after entering the final year of his current deal.

Matt Targett’s return on a permanent basis solves any problems at left-back, and means both Jamal Lewis and Matt Ritchie could move on before the transfer window closes, while Jamaal Lascelles could also opt to move on if Newcastle add to their central-defensive ranks. Nottingham Forest are interested in re-signing their former defender.


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Isaac Hayden has left Newcastle’s midfield ranks, joining Norwich City on a season-long loan that will convert into a permanent deal next summer, and initially at least, the Magpies’ midfield decisions will revolve around outgoings rather than incomings.

Might Miguel Almiron leave even though he is contracted to St James’ to the summer of 2024? There has been growing talk of a potential exit for the Paraguayan, with clubs in Spain and France understood to have made inquiries about his possible availability.

Almiron forced his way into Howe’s starting side in the latter stages of last season, but never quite felt like a nailed-on starter. With Newcastle needing to stay within the parameters of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations, raising funds by selling Almiron would be one of way of securing some much-needed wriggle room.

While Sean Longstaff has signed a new deal and will remain part of Howe’s senior squad, his brother, Matty, could be on his way out again after last season’s successful loan spell at Mansfield.

Jeff Hendrick is available to anyone who wants him, although there might not be a lengthy queue after he struggled during a loan spell at QPR in the second half of last term, but while there has been speculation linking Allan Saint-Maximin with a possible departure, Howe has no desire to lose the Frenchman.

Will Newcastle be signing a midfielder? They started the summer hoping to secure a deal for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, but have been forced to accept they are unlikely to be able to win a battle for the £50m-rated France international. The French media appear convinced Diaby will end up with Paris St Germain, and the Magpies will not want to become embroiled in a bidding war with the Ligue 1 champions.

Jesse Lingard is an alternative option, although Newcastle are yet to rekindle their January interest in the England international, who is a free agent following his release from Manchester United. West Ham remain keen on re-signing Lingard, although it is hard to imagine anyone agreeing to his reported wage requests of £200,000-a-week.


The Northern Echo: Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday July 1, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit

Like Botman, Newcastle’s pursuit of Hugo Ekitike is a saga that has run throughout the summer. The Magpies have agreed a fee of around £25m for the Reims striker, with a further £5m of add-ons set to be included as part of the deal, and have pushing hard for a resolution in the last few days.

Ekitike has been seeking assurances over the likely extent of his first-team involvement next season, but the fact that Borussia Dortmund have moved elsewhere, lining up a deal with Ajax for Sebastien Haller, means the 20-year-old is running out of alternative options.

Reims want to sell, and while there is still talk of a possible bid from Paris St Germain, Newcastle are currently the only viable buyers. There should finally be movement one way or another before the weekend.

Alternative plans have been discussed, with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin regarded as a viable Plan B. Everton would be open to the possibility of selling the England international, but with the market hardly awash with proven goalscorers, any move would not come cheap.

While the focus has understandably been on attacking incomings in the last few weeks, there will be at least one departure from the forward ranks before the window closes, with Dwight Gayle finally set to move on despite having two years of his current deal remaining.

Middlesbrough and West Brom are amongst a batch of Championship clubs to have held discussions over Gayle, although the 32-year-old’s wages could make it difficult for any second-tier club to fund a loan deal unless Newcastle agree to pay a proportion of the striker’s pay packet.

Howe wants to run the rule over Elliot Anderson in pre-season, but there is also a good chance the 19-year-old could end up back out on loan following his successful spell with Bristol Rovers last season.