Transfer Gossip: Newcastle use Neves smokescreen for £87m trio, Saudi target yet another Man Utd player

Newcastle are not fussed about Ruben Neves and will use the distraction to target three others, while Saudi are knocking at the Manchester United door again.

The whole Ruben Neves thing might have been a smokescreen all along. Newcastle have no intention of rearranging their own Saudi furniture when they could just look down the back of similarly sportswashed sofas for any discarded stars.

It is there they might find Kalvin Phillips, he of only two more career Premier League starts for Manchester City than Kevin Phillips, and Hugo Ekitike, who has managed to mightily wind up Paris Saint-Germain.

Both are loan targets for the Magpies, according to The Times, with the situation ‘complicated’ by the fact Eddie Howe cannot be sure of how many fronts his depleted squad will be competing on come the new year.

Such reinforcements might not necessarily be needed if Europe and any number of domestic trinkets are off the table, but Newcastle are keeping their options open and like the look of an ‘increasingly concerned’ Phillips, who appears to have finally realised Pep Guardiola doesn’t fancy him.

A loan would suit all parties in that situation, while PSG would entertain any deal which removes Ekitike from their care for any amount of time. Newcastle have been interested in the striker previously but did once pull out of a proposed deal due to difficult negotiations with his agent, which bodes well.

Newcastle’s hands do seem to be tied in terms of spending actual money come January, what with the Premier League finally showing they draw the line somewhere when it comes to FFP restrictions.

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Forget that, though, because the Magpies have spotted a shiny release clause in one of the continent’s most prolific forward’s contracts.

The £15m trigger in Serhou Guirassy’s Stuttgart fine print is hardly a well-kept secret and his 16 goals in 10 games so far this season have prompted something of a queue to form ahead of the winter transfer window opening.

Newcastle, reliant as they are on Callum Wilson’s hamstrings and the similarly crocked Alexander Isak, hope to be at the head of that line.

The 27-year-old would be understandably reciprocative of any approach and so Newcastle might push ahead with a move to try and cut any suitors off at the source.

Manchester United have not fully exploited the course-correcting Saudi cheat code yet. They offloaded Cristiano Ronaldo there and started this whole sorry mess but during the summer that was, only Alex Telles was shifted from Old Trafford to a league otherwise desperate to hoover up any vague name value.

There has been apparent interest in a number of Manchester United outcasts. Jadon Sancho might yet end up in Saudi, while Raphael Varane and Casemiro could accept the retirement bonus in due course.

But is it really necessary to sully Christian Eriksen’s good name? Unnamed Saudi clubs – the best kind – are ‘monitoring’ the Dane with a view to handing Erik ten Hag £17m or so to finally spend on someone with Eredivisie experience.


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