NEWCASTLE United will finally wrap up a deal for long-term target Mathieu Debuchy when they return from Portugal next week.
Despite talk that Newcastle were ready to walk away from the deal, The Journal understands that United expect to make rapid progress on the protracted transfer of the right-back after the completion of their Algarve training camp on Tuesday.
We can reveal that United have already agreed personal terms with the France international – and will up their bid in the coming days after Mike Ashley gave a green light to a new and improved bid.
Debuchy is intended to be one of two outfield additions that Newcastle currently plan to make, with centre-back recruits appearing to have slipped off the radar in favour of pushing through a deal for Debuchy.
So far United have remained deadlocked after they offered around £5million, some way short of Lille’s valuation. But the French side signed Djibril Sidibe from Troyes this week, which illustrates that they are preparing for life without the highly-rated Debuchy.
That has to be good news for Alan Pardew, who missed the first day of his team’s short stint in Portugal to watch United’s under-17 side compete in the final of the prestigious Milk Cup against Deportivo Brazil in Belfast. The Newcastle boss will link up with the squad today, in good time for the first game of the Magpies XII Trofeo Guadiana campaign against Olympiakos (kick off, 8.45pm).
And he will be boosted by news of a potential breakthrough in the club’s pursuit of one of the rising stars of Euro 2012.
Debuchy has been watched by Newcastle for the best part of two years, but the end is finally in sight for both player and club.
The defender has certainly made no secret of his desire to move to Tyneside and join close friend Yohan Cabaye, who has checked in with the rest of the Newcastle squad here on the sunny Portuguese coast.
Cabaye was a welcome return for United, but Hatem Ben Arfa will be given extra time to recover from his Euro 2012 exertions - with the current plan that he will join the rest of the Newcastle players in the coming days.
The training camp got off to a flying start yesterday despite the absence of Pardew.
The team trained at around 6pm on a municipal park in the leafy Vale dos Lobos part of town under the watchful eye of Pardew’s lieutenant John Carver – along with a surprise appearance from former United midfielder Nicky Butt, who was in Portugal on holiday.
It was a competitive session that saw Davide Santon emerge as a doubt for the Olympiakos game after sustaining an ankle injury following a heavy challenge by Haris Vuckic.
But Tim Krul will make his first appearance of the summer against the Greek side while Steven Taylor – as revealed in The Journal yesterday – is also set to return after a seven-month absence from the Newcastle side with a ruptured Achilles.
The Academy graduate will play 45 minutes as he continues to battle back from the most serious injury of his career.
Another notable absentee from the training camp was Rob Elliot, with Steve Harper and Krul sharing goalkeeping duties during yesterday’s work out.