NEWCASTLE United have enquired about the availability of England left-back Wayne Bridge as the Tynesiders’ hunt for defensive cover in time for the Wear-Tyne derby enters the eleventh hour.
United have pin-pointed Lyon’s Aly Cissokho, Holland left-back Erik Pieters and Bridge as priority targets but their unwillingness to pay over the odds for Jose Enrique’s replacement is slowing the momentum of a transfer that they hoped to have made in time for Saturday’s high noon clash at Sunderland.
Alan Pardew is also keen on adding battle-hardened Premier League quality, which prompted the tentative enquiry about Manchester City’s Bridge at the back end of last week. He would cost a seven-figure loan fee and command wages in the region of £80,000.
That hardly endears him to the United board, but the fees quoted for Cissokho, who wants to join United, and Pieters have so far proved prohibitive. Lyon want more than the £8million which Newcastle are not prepared to offer although interest is far from dead – and The Journal understands he was on the agenda when Derek Llambias visited the North East yesterday.
A spokesman for the Grandstand football agency, which represents Pieters, said Newcastle’s negotiations with PSV Eindhoven were no closer to fruition.
“It is not clear whether the two clubs have agreed a fee yet,” he said. “We are still waiting to hear from both sides.”
North West sources confirmed that Bridge is on Pardew’s radar but whether he can convince Llambias or owner Mike Ashley that a veteran defender is worth such a sizeable investment is another matter.
The 31-year-old made 18 appearances for West Ham last season but has absolutely no chance of featuring for Manchester City, who are looking to shift a number of high earners before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month.
Newcastle have so far opted for players with a high resale value such as Yohan Cabaye in their recruitment drive, but after a weekend that illustrated how difficult it is to drop straight into the Premier League there is a case for adding a player like Bridge instead.