NEWCASTLE United face a tough summer off the pitch – after a difficult few months on the field.
United will confirm the capture of 20-year-old Tenerfie striker Ayoze Perez next month.
But Newcastle need to make as many as half a dozen more signings between now and the end of August, when the summer transfer window closes.
The Magpies needs to sign a replacement for January departure Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy, who spent last season on loan at St James’s Park.
United manager Alan Pardew thrashed out a transfer strategy with owner Mike Ashley and newly-appointed managing director Lee Charnley earlier this month.
And Pardew – backed by Ashley despite calls from fans for his sacking after a dismal run of results since the turn of the year – is braced for a challenging few months.
“There’s a lot of negotiating to do and a lot of work to do this summer – there’s no doubt about that,” Pardew told SportMail.
Pardew, who was pictured at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend, has seen Shola Ameobi and Dan Gosling leaveb. Long-serving Jonas Gutierrez could be another departure, having been sent out on loan last season.
And Newcastle, which will activate Perez’s £1.8million release clause, need to add both strength and depth to a squad which has been found wanting in recent seasons.
Perez, 20, is still playing – Tenerife’s Segunda Division campaign ends next month – and the deal will be finalised once he has kicked his last ball for the club.
Perez will sign a five-year deal at United, according to reports in Spain.
Newcastle are also tracking Montpellier’s Remy Cabella and Lyon’s Clement Grenier.
Cabella and Grenier, both attacking midfielders, were the subject of interest from the club after Cabaye’s sale to Paris St-Germain. In an interview this week, Cabella suggested he was keen to move to the Premier League, and Grenier is interested in a move to United.
And it is inconceivable that the pair – both France internationals – would not have discussed the it with United’s large French contingent.
Grenier is in Didier Deschamps’s 23-man selection for the World Cup along with Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko, while Cabella is on standby.
One player who is not a target is 31-year-old midfielder Steve Sidwell, who played under Pardew at Reading and is out of contract at Fulham this summer.
Meanwhile, defenders Davide Santon and Steven Taylor have again been linked with moves away from the club.
Santon’s agent, however, has suggested that the 23-year-old, who is settled on Tyneside, is in line for a new deal at St James’s Park.
And Taylor, reportedly the subject of interest from newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers, is not understood to be surplus to requirements at Newcastle, despite a frustrating season on the fringes.
The 28-year-old has been assured he still has a future at United.
– MILES STARFORTH