News today that could even be true – that Newcastle are ready to sign Darren Pratley from Swansea City.
Darren Pratley – Pardew’s first signing?
The Swansea midfielder scored the third goal from just inside the half way line, in the 90th minute, to seal Swansea’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-offs at Liberty Stadium recently.
And he will be a free agent this summer, and it seems like Newcastle have been watching this player for some time too.
The news today is that Bolton manager Owen Coyle had hoped to sign the 26-year-old, who has played 177 times for Swansea since 2006 with 28 goals.
But the news is that Newcastle have offered the former Fulham and Brentford player a four-year deal on much improved terms over what Bolton could offer.
The deal is said to go through, even if Swansea reach the Premier League by beating Reading in Monday’s Play-Off final at Wembley Stadium.
So if this news is to be believed then Pratley, whom Chris Hughton was also reported to be interested in, could become Alan Pardew’s first acquisition of the summer.
Barking-born Pratley started his career at Fulham back in 2003, and played a couple of seasons on loan at Brentford, before he moved to Swansea in 2006 for £100K.
In 206 total club games so far, he has scored 27 goals, but of course is completely unproven at the highest levels of England football.
Newcastle were linked with Pratley last November, but the fee quoted then was then £4M, and since he would be available for free this summer, Newcastle were not interested.
When we’ve watched him this season, he’s looked a decent player, and if Newcastle sign him it will be a sizable risk that he can step up the much higher levels of the Premier League.
One bit of worrying news is that he was dropped at the start of this season by new manager, Brendan Rodgers at Swansea, after some poor performances, but he got back into the side shortly after that.
This lad reminds us a lot of James Perch – and if he turns out to be a similar class of player, that would be disappointing.
What do you think?