Good news today that the long negotiations (up to 5 weeks) on new contracts for both Steve Harper and Nicky Butt will soon be over.
Steve Harper – Newcastle’s new number one?
Both players will sign their new deals to go with Shola Ameobi, who are the three players whose contracts are running out in the summer and whom Newcastle wanted to retain.
The contract offers did not include Claudio Cacapa and Mark Viduka, who we expect to be leaving Newcastle in the summer, when their contracts run out, and that will save the club around £100K/week in wages for two players who always seem to be injured. And if Owen leaves in the summer the savings in wages will reach at least £220K/week.
With Manchester City close to a deal for Given, Kinnear has confirmed he has persuaded Steve Harper to sign a new, improved three-year contract at Newcastle, and this will a terrific opportunity for Steve, who has been more than patient in waiting for his chance at Newcastle for the last 15 years.
Butt is also finally ready to sign a one-year extension to his current deal, and Nicky will finish his illustrious career at the club.
Harper had been a target of Tottenham Hotspur who have just signed Carlo Cudicini from Chelsea on a free, so that’s another goalkeeper who will now be playing regularly and was too good to be a just back up.
Steve was understood to be unhappy with the terms of the new deal initially on offer at St James’ Park, but it appears that Given’s departure has allowed Newcastle to increase their offer to the local lad.
Steve has to be more than happy to accept the challenge of being Newcastle’s number one goalkeeper, even though Given’s move is still not 100% certain.
Joe Kinnear said last night.
“The good news is that Nicky Butt and Steve Harper are both close to signing new contracts. I think they’re virtually done,”
“That’s a step in the right direction and I’m delighted they are going to sign because they are two of our most experienced players.”
The Newcastle Journal are reporting that Newcastle’s desire for Johnson to be included in any deal for Given is thought to be the biggest remaining obstacle to the deal being agreed.
Although the youngster has been injured this season, he looks a top player in the making, so it’s not surprising the Tyneside club want him – but will he come is the big question.
No deal is expected to be agreed until after the game at Eastlands tomorrow night, with negotiations with the City hierarchy taking place in the evening.
Things in the transfer market seem to be going into overdrive, and certainly most of the players we are linked with seem more than decent.
Wishing and Hoping. 😀