Newcastle have been linked with at least two young players at Crystal Palace over the last six months.
Nathanial Clyne – excellent young full-back
One is Wilfried Zaha, the 19 year-old Ivory Coast born winger/striker that Newcastle showed interest in during January, and it would not be surprising if Newcastle go after the player in the summer.
Bolton Wanderers went in with two bids during January for the England U19 International, but the word is that if the offer had been accepted, Wilfried would have turned Bolton down, and he seems to be keen to come to Newcastle.
The other Crystal Palace player we have been linked with continually is 20 year-old right-back and England U21 international Nathaniel Clyne.
Clyne is already an excellent young player, and if Newcastle can get a good deal in the summer, he could well be arriving at Newcastle.
Manchester United and Liverpool (of course) are also interested in Clyne, who looks to be an excellent right back in the making.
We still expect Danny Simpson to sign a new contract before the summer, but if he doesn’t, he will in all likelihood be sold this summer, and that would be more reason to go after Clyne.
We have to also remember that young James Tavernier is starting to look the part at Newcastle, and we think James will be fighting for a first team place next season, after he finishes his latest loan spell at MK Dons, through the end of this season.
The news is that the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch Middlesbrough take on Crystal Palace in the 0-0 draw, and both Clyne and Zaha played the whole game for Palace.
But another player Pardew could have been watching is the 23 year-old Australian Rhys Williams, the 6’2″ Middlesrough central defender, who can also play at right back and in defensive midfield.
We’ve watched Rhys a couple of times, including the FA Cup tie against Sunderland, and he looks a good player, and his flexibility would also be useful to Newcastle.
Newcastle will be bringing in a number of new players in the summer, and we think that either of three above would be good acquisitions, but as always who arrives depends on what kind of deal the club can get, and the Magpies will not pay over the odds for anybody.
We expect a mini clear-out this summer with players like Alan Smith, Tamas Kadar and Peter Lovenkrands not having their contracts renewed, and other players like Steve Harper, Nile Ranger, Xisco (if somebody will take him) and Danny Simpson could also leave the club.
Danny will leave if he doesn’t sign his new deal before the summer.
There will also be a clear-out of some youngsters who will not be offered new contracts, including Phil Airey and Jeff Henderson, and we think around five top youngsters will be arriving on Tyneside in the summer months.
Obviously the aim in the summer will be to improve the quality and the size of the squad, and that will be even more important of we can qualify for the Europa Cup.
And we’ll not even mention possibly qualifying for the European Champions League – because that would be getting way ahead of ourselves – which is why we cannot mention it.