NEWCASTLE UNITED are increasingly confident of winning the battle to sign teenage sensation Rory Finneran.

Finneran, a 16-year-old midfielder who is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the country, is poised to join Newcastle’s academy ranks in the next few weeks.

The youngster is currently on the books of Blackburn Rovers, who had been hoping to persuade him to sign his first professional deal at Ewood Park.

Finneran hit the headlines in January when he became Blackburn’s youngest-ever senior player as he stepped off the bench in the final stage of an FA Cup victory over Cambridge United aged just 15 years and 312 days.

The Irish-born youngster, who is the skipper of the Republic of Ireland’s Under-17s side, turned 16 at the end of February, and is now able to leave Blackburn to sign terms elsewhere.

He has been inundated with offers, with Newcastle pushing particularly hard in an attempt to persuade him to leave his first club and head to Tyneside.

The Magpies are increasingly hopeful that their advances will prove successful, and hope to be able to confirm Finneran as a Newcastle player ahead of the start of the new season.


If confirmed, the switch will be a major coup for Newcastle’s academy set-up, and a considerable blow to Blackburn, who had hoped to filter Finneran into their first-team group next term.

Newcastle are also set to confirm the signing of another 16-year-old, Aaron Epia, with the defender having agreed to leave Everton in order to move to the North-East.

Epia impressed during a trial with Newcastle towards the end of last season, and has confirmed his intention to make a permanent switch to Tyneside on social media. He is expected to be part of Newcastle’s Under-18s group next season.

“I want to thank all the staff and players at Everton that have helped support my development over the last seven years,” wrote Epia. “I’ve had a great journey. It has been a tough decision to decide, but I feel like the time has come for me to find a new challenge. I want to wish the club all the best for the future.”