Newcastle United have reportedly had a cash offer for Bolton Wanderers’ Jlloyd Samuel rejected.
The Journal was last night unable to confirm the news with manager Chris Hughton, but if true it sheds some light on the club’s ambiguous statement about “no new capital outlay on players” this summer.
In the absence of any clarification from St James’ Park, some have interpreted the phrase as meaning the Magpies would not pay any transfer fees for players in the current transfer window. But the offer for Samuel was said to run to “seven figures”, implying instead that Hughton’s buys may have to be offset by player sales.
Owner Mike Ashley’s May statement did little to fill fans with optimism, suggesting as it did that the club’s transfer policy would be frugal at best as they prepared for a return to the Premier League. The lack of signings since the season’s end, although by no means unusual, did nothing to allay those fears. But Hughton this week confirmed he is hopeful of supplementing his squad “sooner rather than later.”
And Newcastle have also been linked with an unlikely move for Rais M’Bohli. Slavia Sofia president Ventsislav Stefanov has confirmed the story in The Journal earlier this month the Magpies are interested in Algeri’s World Cup goalkeeper.
But with Newcastle’s wealth of talent in that position and work to do elsewhere, a deal seems unlikely.
The Magpies are due to report back for pre-season training on July 5 and it would be helpful, though not imperative, if some or all of the new faces were in place by then.
After running up debts under the previous regime, owner Mike Ashley’s May statement promised United would aim to “break even” by 2015-16. With an estimated loss of £32.5m last season and a £20m overdraft at its limit, funds are certain to be at a premium.
But Hughton is well aware his squad will need strengthening for a Premier League campaign which threatens to expose the weaknesses in his squad in a way the Championship could not. The loan market may provide some relief but he is also looking for permanent deals.
The biggest area of concern is the full-back positions. In all other areas of the field Hughton can call on depth, albeit the quality may need raising for top-flight football.
At full-back Hughton can only call on Danny Simpson – who will miss the start of the campaign as he recovers from a tendon operation, José Enrique and the versatile Ryan Taylor. Taylor believes his best position is right-back but has more often been used in midfield.
Centre-backs Steven Taylor and Tamas Kadar can also fill in, while Jonás Gutiérrez could yet return a World Cup-winning right-back having been used there by Argentina.
But Hughton would much prefer the 26-year-old to stick to the job he feels he does best, as a left winger.
Former Aston Villa product Samuel has played Premier Leaguer football in all the defensive positions, and in midfield, though it is at left-back where Bolton and Villa have used him most regularly.
Samuel has dropped out of the first-team picture at the Reebok Stadium, having played just once in the league since Owen Coyle’s appointment as manager in January.
The Trinidad-born player has one year left on his contract, which could be why Newcastle suspect they can land him at a cut-price.
It seems unlikely the Trotters will refuse to do business for a player who can leave for free next year.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have confirmed they will play Deportivo La Coruña on August 3 at 9pm local time at the Riazor Stadium.