Wednesday 24 January 2018

Pressure piles on Pardew as Harford set for Toon role

Jeremy Wilson

Fresh questions have been raised about manager Alan Pardew's role at Newcastle United after it emerged that Mick Harford is in talks over a position at the club.

Harford is understood to have held discussions over a role working alongside new director of football Joe Kinnear, whom he played under at Wimbledon.

Kinnear and Harford are regarded as close allies, with Harford having begun his coaching career at Wimbledon before following Kinnear to Luton and then Nottingham Forest. He later became a manager in his own right at Rotherham, Luton and Queens Park Rangers.

Harford's 13 months as assistant to Karl Robinson at MK Dons came to an end last month, and it was later announced he was to take up a coaching role at Millwall.

Should Harford be appointed to assist Kinnear, there would be immediate questions about any knock-on change to the responsibilities and power of Pardew.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley came under heavy criticism from supporters for the shock appointment of Kinnear and the perception that Pardew had been undermined.

Kinnear has been put in charge of the club's transfer strategy although not a single senior player has been added to the squad since his arrival.

Steve Harper, Danny Simpson and James Perch have been allowed to leave, although Harper and Simpson were always moving on anyway.

STALEMATE

Pardew's priority is to recruit two proven strikers, with Aston Villa's Darren Bent high on his list, although the stalemate over Papiss Cisse's refusal to wear the logo of sponsor Wonga on his shirt remains a serious complication.

Meanwhile, Tottenham have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Belgium winger Nacer Chadli.

The 23-year-old signed for a fee in the region of £7m from FC Twente yesterday, subject to a medical. He becomes Spurs' second major signing of the close season after they brought in Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for £17m.

Chadli, who has dual Moroccan and Belgian citizenship, played once for Morocco in a friendly before switching to Belgium in 2011.

He joins Belgium team-mates Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembélé at White Hart Lane.

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher expects to miss the start of the new Premier League season as he continues his rehabilitation from a bowel operation.

The 29-year-old has been battling ulcerative colitis for the past five years and underwent surgery in January.

Despite signing Andy Carroll for a club-record fee, West Ham have made bringing in another striker their priority for the remainder of the transfer window, according to co-owner David Sullivan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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