CHRIS Hughton was celebrating a transfer double yesterday, but the Newcastle manager faces a titanic tussle if he is to round off a successful January window with the capture of Crystal Palace prodigy Victor Moses.

QPR defender Fitz Hall signed a loan deal until the end of the season yesterday morning, with Chelsea fullback Patrick van Aanholt joining the Magpies on a onemonth contract, and the pair will both be included in the squad for this evening’s Championship game at Leicester City.

With Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson and Wayne Routledge already having moved to St James’ Park this month, January is shaping up to be a successful month for a Newcastle side who currently boast a three-point advantage at the top of the table.

But Hughton is still hoping to make one more signing before the transfer window closes at 5pm on Monday after tabling an improved £2m offer for Moses, who is certain to leave Selhurst Park this month in an attempt to smooth Palace’s passage out of administration.

Newcastle’s second bid follows hot on the heels of a £1.5m offer that was rejected on Wednesday evening, and underlines the extent of the club’s interest in a 19-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the English game.

The Magpies are confident of outbidding West Brom and Nottingham Forest, the two Championship clubs who have also expressed an interest in the striker’s services, but sources in London last night claimed West Ham, Fulham and Wigan had also joined the race.

While Moses is reluctant to move to a Premier League club where he would be denied regular football, all three of those sides would offer him an immediate route to the first team, and Hughton will have to use all of his persuasive powers if he is to lure Moses to the North-East over the weekend to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.

With the administrators running Crystal Palace keen to secure as high a price as possible, it also remains to be seen whether £2m will be enough to secure a deal.

Palace officials had slapped a £5m price tag on Moses’ head prior to this week’s move into the hands of the administrators, but Newcastle’s cause should be aided by their willingness to pay the vast majority of their proposed fee in one up-front instalment.

“We are very interested in signing the lad,” confirmed Hughton. “Most people are aware of the circumstances with Crystal Palace and the situation they’re in. We’re hoping to make progress on that in the next couple of days. It’s one that we have a very, very keen interest in.”

If Moses does move to Tyneside in the next three days, he will join a club that boasts two new loan defenders after the arrival of Hall and van Aanholt.

Hall, who has made two £1m-plus moves in a career that has seen him represent five clubs, including Southampton, Crystal Palace and Wigan, has moved from Loftus Road until the end of the season. The 29-year-old will compete with Williamson for the right to partner Fabricio Coloccini while Steven Taylor recovers from a knee injury.

“Fitz is a player we have known about for a long time,”

said Hughton. “We wanted to bring in two centre-backs, but also wanted two different types of player. We have Fabricio and Mike, who did very well on his debut, and now Fitz. He is very good on the ground and has good pace.”

Van Aanholt boasts less senior experience, although the 19-year-old made 20 loan appearances for Coventry in the first half of the current campaign.

The Dutch left-back has been signed as a short-term replacement for Jose Enrique, who will be sidelined for up to a month after injuring his hamstring in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, and is expected to start at the Walkers Stadium tonight.

“He is a player who is very highly thought of at Chelsea,”

said Hughton. “The move was, of course, a reaction to the situation with Jose’s injury, but we’re very excited about having Patrick with us. He will give us energy, and it’s a good chance to have a look at him over the next month.”

At the start of the month there was a fear that Magpies owner Mike Ashley would keep the club’s January transfer spending to a bare minimum.

Instead, two players have arrived on permanent transfers for a combined fee of around £2m, with a further £2m having been made available for the pursuit of Moses.

Geremi will become the only senior player to leave when he finally completes a move to Turkey in the next 48 hours, and having plugged gaping holes at right-back, left-back and centre-half, while also keeping half an eye on developing young players for the future, Hughton is justifiably satisfied with his month’s work.

“We’ve been able to do a combination of looking at now and the future,” he said.

“We’ve always known the most important thing is this season, and maintaining the position we’re in to make sure we get promotion. But we’ve also been able to have an eye on the future.

“That has not been the most important thing, but whenever a situation comes up with individual players, you have to make a judgement. When the possibility of bringing someone like Wayne Routledge came up, our judgement was that it was a good decision for the future, as well as being a good decision for now.”