Newcastle boss Graeme Souness has warned Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger that he will have to come up with far more than £12m (€17.5m) to tempt him to part with England midfielder Jermaine Jenas.
The Magpies are bracing themselves for a bid for their 22-year-old starlet with Patrick Vieira reported to be poised for a move to Juventus.
Newcastle have identified Gunners defender Sol Campbell as a target and may have to consider any offer for Jenas from the Gunners, but Souness insists it would take something special to prise the former Nottingham Forest player away from St James’ Park.
“If we were to sell Jermaine, which is the last thing on my mind, it would have to be for a lot more money than Patrick Vieira is being sold for – if it is £12m (€17.5m) – because he is 22 years old and he has the potential to be one of the best midfield players in the world,” he said.
“He maybe he does not have the aggression that Patrick Vieira has, but he has certainly got the athleticism. Technically he is good. He is an outstanding player.
“But it would take a lot more than £12m (€17.5m) to buy Jermaine Jenas, and I do not think anyone has that kind of money right now.”
Newcastle have spent much of the summer insisting that Jenas is going nowhere after repeated speculation that he is ready to leave Tyneside, and today’s developments will do little to quell the rumours.
Their interest in 30-year-old Campbell, however, is genuine, although Souness, who lost Titus Bramble with a fractured elbow this week, has played it down.
“Campbell has been outstanding for Arsenal,” he said. “He has been the rock they have built their defence on. I think the down-side for us anyway would be the money he earns. But he is a top defender.”
Meanwhile, Souness confirmed that 24-year-old Turkey international Emre has completed his move to St James’ Park, and that midfielder Kieron Dyer has agreed a new four-year contract.
“We have done that deal (Emre) and I am absolutely delighted with that,” he told Sky Sports. “I think he will be a really good player in the English Premiership.
“He (Dyer) has signed a new deal. I am delighted about that. Kieron is another one who I feel is a top player.
“I would like him to score more goals and we are going to try to find a position for him next year in a system that suits him because he is a player you can build the team around. He is that good.”