Saturday 1 October 2016

Newcastle hopeful of swift progress

Published 12/06/2015 | 11:36

QPR striker Charlie Austin is a summer target for Newcastle
QPR striker Charlie Austin is a summer target for Newcastle

Newcastle are in a hurry to tie up their top summer transfer targets after signalling a new era at St James' Park.

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The Magpies had been putting out feelers long before Steve McClaren's appointment as head coach was confirmed on Wednesday evening, and they are hopeful of making swift progress.

Press Association Sport understands the club is closing in on top target Charlie Austin, although the QPR striker, who is currently on international duty with England after scoring 18 Barclays Premier League goals last season, will be much sought after.

No deal is yet in place, but there is optimism on Tyneside that agreement can be reached.

Attacking options are high on the Magpies' list of priorities, with strikers and a left-sided midfielder understood to be their main focus after owner Mike Ashley signalled his intention to loosen the purse strings.

West Brom's Saido Berahino and Hull midfielder Tom Ince are among the names which interest them, while former frontman Andy Carroll has never been very far from their thoughts since the day he left St James' Park.

But while there will be a greater emphasis on men with experience of British football, chief scout Graham Carr will not abandon the continental market completely, and reports from the Netherlands have linked Newcastle with Wolfsburg's Holland international frontman Bas Dost, while PSV Eindhoven midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is also figuring in their thoughts.

In addition, there have been positive noises from Moussa Sissoko's camp in recent days after months of speculation that the France midfielder could leave the club during the close season.

McClaren, who arrived without fanfare but is hoping to make an early impact with a statement of intent, is also keen to have his coaching staff in place within days after the departures of John Carver and Steve Stone earlier this week.

Paul Simpson, with whom he worked at Derby, has been tipped to follow the 54-year-old to Tyneside, but compensation could yet prove an issue, while the former England boss is also looking at young coaches with successful playing careers behind them who can inspire his new-look squad.

But whatever the make-up of his staff and squad when the transfer window closes, McClaren has challenged his players to make history at a club which has not won a trophy since 1969 and not tasted domestic success for 14 years longer.

He told the Chronicle: "Every club has their heroes and past legends. I came from Derby and they had Cloughie (Brian Clough), and you must never forget them. You aspire to that.

"Newcastle has terrific history and tradition and at every club, I used to tell the players the aim was to get your photos up on the walls with people saying, 'You were the team that did that'.

"You want to be the ones that people talk about through the years. I tell the players, 'We want you there on walls'."

Press Association

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