NEWCASTLE United want to do all of their January business early in the New Year window – starting with a cut-price £8million move for Loïc Rémy.
The Journal understands that the club are ready to embark on a major recruitment drive in the transfer window to strengthen both the first team and the wider squad – both of which have been stretched to breaking point by the demands of fighting on four fronts.
And that means a right-back, a centre-back and a striker are on the agenda, with Newcastle sources supremely confident of landing at least one player that can be unveiled on January 1.
They want to conduct their business early and have carried out preliminary talks with Marseille about Rémy, who has indicated to his representatives he wants to join United’s French revolution.
The club believe that they need reinforcements to be secured early in the window because they are targeting the FA Cup as a competition “to attack” this year.
There is also a real willingness from all the key parties to invest, hence the speed with which they are moving on Rémy.
And despite reports putting the figure at close to £10m, The Journal understands that United are hopeful of striking a deal nearer the £8m mark.
The move is not dependent on Demba Ba’s future, although the club recognise that signing Rémy early would give them an insurance policy in case their Senegal star – available for £7.5m due to a clause in his contract – moves late in the window.
Plus, Shola Ameobi may be missing in January, having yesterday been called into Nigeria’s preliminary squad for the African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Pardew confirmed United’s growing transfer window optimism by saying: “We’re looking at bringing in a player.
“Maybe two or maybe even three, who knows? We’re certainly setting our sights on bringing in a couple of players. And of course we don’t want to lose anyone.”
United continue to counsel that a move for Rémy is in its early stages, and Marseille president Vincent Labrune said yesterday that the club were not looking to sell the striker.
But, given the fact that negotiations have taken place, that could well be a tactic to try to flush out interest.
Rémy is not in favour at Marseille and the return of fellow France international André-Pierre Gignac from injury pushed the 25-year-old down the pecking order.
Still, Labrune talked up the striker’s “potential”. “I’m not looking for a way out for Loic,” Labrune said. “Our finances are healthy. I don’t have to sell this winter.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle are resigned to the fact that uncertainty will swirl around Ba all month – and have made their final contract offer to the Senegal forward.