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NEWCASTLE: Premier League duo Jesse Lingard and James Tarkowski remain on Newcastle United’s summer transfer wishlist.
Arab News has learned that the Magpies have spoken to representatives of the duo to explore the possibility of reviewing January’s failed moves for Manchester United and Burnley players.
Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe is keen to improve a number of key positions in United’s starting XI this season as he aims to challenge the Premier League’s top eight teams.
And while United will be looking to sign at least four to five key players, the club’s summer transfer budget is likely to be largely spent on adding a top striker and goals in the side.
For this reason, the value is sought where it can be found. And Lingard and Tarkowski, both proven Premier League performers, fall into that category, with the duo set to become free agents in June.
In the winter window, United have been discouraged by the financial demands imposed by their current clubs, with the Red Devils seeking more than $12 million as a down payment to secure Lingard until the end of the season.
The Magpies were also put off by Burnley’s demands for centre-back Tarkowski, who the Clarets were keen to keep for their own relegation battle. This stance was further hardened when the Magpies rushed to trigger the release clause on Chris Wood’s transfer, much to the anger of then manager Sean Dyche.
But with the fee no longer necessary, both players are on Howe’s agenda before the summer.
The head coach is keen to sign a goalkeeper, a centre-half, a left-back, a central midfielder and two forwards, one of which is likely to be a stellar name.
“I’m open-minded,” Howe said when asked what’s in store for us this summer.
“He’s the right player for the job.
“You have to have an eye on the future. I don’t think you can ignore the fact that if you have a team that’s not the right age, you can give yourself problems one, two, three years later.
“We don’t want to put ourselves in that position.
“Ideally you want experience, players who ideally have played in the Premier League but, like Bruno, who is none of that, he was the right signing for the job at the time.
“We will take it on an individual basis while recognizing that the club will always have a future and we have to protect it.”
Two players likely to play a key role in United’s future are Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson, who both have a chance of getting playing time at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
Wilson hasn’t kicked the ball since December due to a calf problem, while a broken foot has kept England international Trippier out since February.
“Callum has been training all week. We are really happy with him, he trained very well. He had two very difficult days and he came out of it very well,” said Howe.
“Physically he looks very good, he’s worked hard to get to this point. Very happy as always with Callum’s attitude. He looks well placed so chances are good that he is involved.
“Kieran is slightly behind him this week as he hasn’t trained every day but when he has trained he has trained very well. We will 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 if he will be available against the club where it all started for him.
Howe continued: “It’s amazing to have players of this quality on your team. We have missed them, there is no doubt, not just as players but as personalities.
“Everyone saw the impact Kieran had on the team in a very short time, not only with his performances, but also with his leadership qualities and his ability to help the players on the pitch during the game. Having that back in the training squad this week has been a brilliant lift for everyone.
“For them, the wait has been long. They are both competitors, both winners and want to contribute to the team so they were frustrated that their bodies didn’t quite allow them to do it at the speed they wanted but they are ready now , they trained very well.
“It gives everyone a boost. When you see good players on the training ground as part of your team, it can only inspire you.