NEWCASTLE: Premier League duo Jesse Lingard and James Tarkowski remain on Newcastle United’s summer transfer wishlist.
Arab News has learned the Magpies have spoken to representatives of the duo to explore revisiting failed January moves for the Manchester United and Burnley players.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe is keen to level up a number of key positions in the United starting XI this season, as he sets sights on challenging the Premier League’s top eight sides.
And while United will look to sign at least four to five key players, the club’s summer transfer budget is likely to be largely funnelled into adding a top level striker and goals to the side.
For that reason, value is being sought, where it can be found. And Lingard and Tarkowski, both proven Premier League performers fit that category, with the pair set to become free agents in June.
In the winter window United were put off by the financial demands placed on their heads by their current clubs, with the Red Devils looking for more than $12million as a downpayment to secure Lingard to the end of the season.
The Magpies were also put off by Burnley’s demands for central defender Tarkowski, who the Clarets were keen to retain for their own battle against relegation. That stance hardened further when the Magpies swooped to trigger Chris Wood’s transfer release clause, much to the anger of then manager Sean Dyche.
But with fees no longer needed, both players are on Howe’s agenda heading into the summer.
The head coach is keen to sign a goalkeeper, center-half, left-back, central midfielder and two forward, one of which is likely to be a stellar name.
“I’m open minded,” Howe said when asked about what lies ahead this summer.
“It’s the right player for the position.
“You do have to have an eye on the future. I don’t think you can be blind to the fact that if you have a squad that’s at the wrong ages then you can give yourself problems one, two, three years down the line.
“We don’t want to put ourselves in that position.
“Ideally, you want experience, players that, ideally, have played in the Premier League but, as with Bruno, who’s none of those things, he was the right signing for that position at that time.
“We will take it on an individual basis while acknowledging the fact the club will always have a future and we have to protect that.”
Two players likely to play a key part in United’s future are Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson, both of whom are in with a chance of getting gametime at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
Wilson has not kicked a ball since December due to a calf problem, while a broken foot has kept England international Trippier sidelined since February.
“Callum has trained all week. We’re really pleased with him, he’s trained very well. He had two really tough days and he’s come through those days excellently,” said Howe.
“Physically, he looks very good, he’s put a lot of work in to get to this point. Very pleased, as always, with Callum’s attitude. He looks in a good place, so there is a good chance he’ll be involved.
“Kieran is slightly behind him this week as he hasn’t trained every day but when he has trained, he’s trained very well. We’ll make a late decision on him.”
While a place for Wilson on the bench, at least, is all but guaranteed, Trippier will be subject to a late fitness test to determine whether he will be available against the club where it all started for him.
Howe continued: “It’s incredible to have players of that quality in your squad. We’ve missed them, no doubt about that, not just as players but as personalities.
“Everyone saw the impact Kieran had on the team in a very short period of time, not just with his performances but leadership skills and his ability to help players on the pitch during the game. To have that back into the training group this week has been a brilliant lift for everyone.
“For them, it’s been a long wait. They are both competitors, both winners and want to contribute to the team, so they’ve been frustrated that their bodies haven’t quite allowed them to do that at the speed they wanted to but they’re ready now, they’ve trained very well.
“It does give everyone a lift. When you see good players on the training pitch as part of your team, it can’t fail to inspire you.”
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