Newcastle United coach Chris Hughton has confirmed that the club are interested in signing French defender Albin Ebondo, and that the signing of Steve Harper to a new 3.5 year contract has nothing to do with Shay Given leaving the club.
Chris and Joe – interest in Ebondo
The 24-year-old Toulouse right-back Ebondo has been on Tyneside since Monday trying to thrash out some kind of de at the club, and speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Man City, Hughton told reporters:
“That’s one we are hopeful on.”
“We hope that by the time the window shuts we will have a couple of players.”
“We see Ebondo as a player who will boost the squad.”
And speaking on Steve Harper signing his new contract, Chris said it has nothing to do with Shay Given possibly leaving the club:
“The only thing to read into it is that what we would like to do is keep the quality individuals here,”
“We have never seen Steve Harper as a No.2, we have seen him as a goalkeeper who is pushing for a No.1 spot.”
“What he has had in front of him, unfortunately for him, is a top goalkeeper in Shay Given, who has served this club very, very well.”
Chris was then asked about Manchester City’s approach for Shay Given and he said:
“I am not aware of any decisions Man City may or may not have made.”
“But what I do know is we have a very good goalkeeper in Shay Given who is training very well every day.”
“If you look at his performances he is performing as well as ever and he is a goalkeeper we would like to keep here.”
“As regards team selection, that is something the players will always know first.”
The news on Given is that he will not play tonight as Newcastle officials try to work out a deal for Given to join the Eastlands club, but it seems Ashley has made it clear that Given will stay on Tyneside if an offer in the region of around £10M is not made by City.
In other words Newcastle want a deal favorable to them, and potentially with Manchester City youngsters Michael Johnson and Nedum Onuoha included in the deal, either as permanent players at Newcastle or on loan through the end of the season.
If Man City don’t do that then expect Shay Given to still to be at the club next Tuesday, although he will lose his ever present status tonight, although he has presumably already been included in the squad.
If he is included in the team tonight, then the deal could already be submarined and he’ll stay at Newcastle, although Shay playing tonight is only a remote possibility at this point.