Newcastle certainly seem to have turned up the heat on their activities in the transfer market after last Monday’s Board Meeting and now it looks like we may be pursuing Maceo Rigters of NAC Breda in Holland.
The Dutch Under-21 International is available for a nominal fee (reported to be as low as $350K) and we’ll look at the situation revealed by NAC Breda Director of football Earnie Stewart yesterday to BBC Sport.
NAC Breda and Dutch Under-21 International Maceo Rigters certainly impressed during Holland’s European Under 21 Championship â€“ and a number of clubs were initially said to be interested in him (including Newcastle) with Celtic initially in pole position.
However, Earnie Stewart told BBC Sport yesterday:
“I can confirm that neither Celtic, nor Rangers, have bid for Maceo Rigters.
“The only two offers have come from the English Premiership.”
The two clubs who have bid are reported to be Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers and we can only assume that Celtic will also bid â€“ but nothing is ever certain at this time of year. Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is also searching for a striker and could also be interested.
Stewart went on:
“If Maceo and/or his agent want to reveal the clubs, that’s a matter for them, but NAC Breda won’t comment other than to confirm there have been two English bids for him.”
Maceo Rigter’s Agent Frank Schouter then added:
“I think NAC are now in a position of strength with so many bidders.
“We are just waiting for NAC to tell us which clubs we can talk to and that is likely to happen on Monday.”
Stewart did confirm Celtic had formally expressed an interest in the striker last week, but that Rangers had not been in touch. Stewart had stated last Wednesday:
“We’ve had our first approach from Celtic,”
“They sent us a fax to tell us they were interested in Maceo and we’ll see what happens.
â€œIt’s up to Celtic to make the next move and push forward with any negotiations.
At the moment, they are the first and only club to have contacted us about Maceo.”
The race certainly seems to have hotted up now – but we are not too sure why Newcastle would be interested. Sam Allardyce yesterday said he was 100% sure that Owen would be with us come August – and since we are also pursuing Gudjohnsen from Barcelona â€“ we’re not sure if these would be back-up signings in case Martins leaves. While we can sign Gudjohnsen and use him as a midfield player Rigters has already stated his intention to play striker.
In fact Rigters wants to leave NAC Breda because he is frustrated at his role at the club and that he is hardly ever used as an out and out striker. He believes he can score a lot more goals. Rigters did score four times as Holland retained their European Under-21 crown last month and Breda had hoped to negotiate a new contract – but Rigters is determined to leave and it looks like he will.
Last season Rigters appeared 38 times for NAC Breda but scored only 4 goals. Maceo started his career at SC Heerenven and then moved to FC Dordrecht before finally moving to NAC Breda in 2005. He had earlier expressed his frustration at his situation with NAC Breda during the Under-21 championships:
“I have never felt much appreciation at NAC Breda in the last two seasons,”.
“I always feel that I am a center-forward. At NAC Breda I have played just two matches in this position.
“I always had to train and play on the wings. In the front of the attack I have never got a good chance.”
“I was surprised to start in the first XI (Dutch Under-21). It is fantastic to play in this tournament.”
No doubt that Rigters could turn into a good striker and the fee is good (very small) â€“ but how many strikers do Newcastle need?Â We would be surprised if this deal goes through for Newcastle – and if it does can only assume Martins will be leaving â€“ and we’re hoping that doesn’t happen. That’s the situation with Maceo Rigters – brought up to date – as we see it.