Newcastle were today desperately trying to push through their first summer signing to give their latest shopping spree a new impetus.
Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker remains the immediate target as Everton and Tottenham also pursue him and, after going some of the way towards landing him last weekend, the Magpies are ready to make progress once again.
Manager Graeme Souness, who has now returned from his summer break, is keen to take things forward sooner rather than later, with his players due to return for pre-season training on July 2.
A successful swoop for Parker would do the club little harm as Monday’s deadline for season tickets renewals looms.
He is by no means the club’s only target but in the short term he is certainly the most significant, although in confirming his interest in the player, the Scot also admitted that Inter Milan counterpart Emre Belezoglu is also on his list.
“Scott Parker is a player we like very much and we are definitely interested in signing him,” said Souness.
“He is a player I have admired for a very long time and there is no question he will be an excellent signing for us.
“Emre is a player we know and he is a player we like the look of. I do not know how it has been leaked out but, yes, we have expressed an interest in him.”
Souness’ contacts in Turkey, where he once managed Galatasaray, have kept him well informed of the Turkish international’s situation, but there has as yet been no firm approach from Newcastle.
The midfield is a key area for the Magpies, who are attempting to offload Laurent Robert and Hugo Viana, while Lee Bowyer’s impending court appearance has made his future on Tyneside no more secure.
Speculation continues over England international Jermaine Jenas, who has been linked repeatedly with Arsenal and Tottenham, while Nicky Butt has much to prove after a difficult first season in the north-east.
Newcastle’s search for new blood has seen them touted as prospective buyers for a growing number of players, and two more names were thrown into the ring today.
Reports in Portugal have named the Magpies as one of several suitors to Belenenses’ Cape Verde Islands-born defender Pele, while in Holland, Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt is said to be attracting renewed interest from St James’.
However, Souness has admitted that his chances of landing Hamburg’s Belgium defender Daniel van Buyten appear to be receding, although he insisted that no talks have taken place despite claims from the player that he had been assured of a bright future should he sign.