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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United are looking to tie down at least four deals before the transfer window slams shut on Monday night.
The winter window ends in England at 11 p.m. tomorrow, and Arab News understands the Magpies are looking to not only confirm deals for Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes and Brighton’s Dan Burn, but also continue to explore the possibility of landing Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard and another central defender.
In fact, we’re told, United will remain open to any transfer throughout the day, should a good player and deal present itself.
The deal for Brazil international Guimaraes is regarded as a formality, with the joint announcement expected either on Sunday evening or early Monday morning.
The deal for towering Geordie Burn — released by the Magpies at the age of 10 — would strengthen the much-needed central defensive department after moves for primary targets, Sven Botman and Diego Carlow, of Lille and Sevilla respectively, faltered earlier in the window.
Burn is understood to be open to a deal to return to his boyhood club, although there is still some negotiating to do on personal terms — with United seeing their initial wage soundings rebuffed by the player and his representatives.
Should all go to plan, that would take United’s estimated spending this window, the first under Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia majority ownership, to around $112 million. For context, that’s more than they have spent in all of the previous 15 January windows under previous owner Mike Ashley put together.
A surprise deal cannot be ruled out, with the Magpies’ transfer committee working around the clock over the course of the weekend to line transfers up for head coach Eddie Howe.
It’s understood Howe’s United may yet test the resolve of Wolverhampton Wanderers to hang on to skipper Conor Coady.
Meanwhile, Howe has not yet given a second thought to the players he will have to leave out of his 25-man Premier League squad.
So far, two, soon to be four, new additions have been added to the United ranks in the January window, meaning a quartet of current squad members from the first half of the campaign will have to be cut, as per top-flight rules.
Clubs can only name 25 players over the age of 21 in their ranks for use in Premier League games.
And while it’s something Howe knows he’ll have to address soon enough, it’s not even in his thinking right now. Instead, it’s tunnel vision towards strengthening his hand for the final 17 games of the season.
“That will all depend on incomings for us,” Howe said when pressed about exits before Monday’s deadline in England.
“We have to get that balance right, particularly with the younger players. There will be a few of the younger guys going out,” he said. “I am sure the majority of the squad will stay intact.”
Howe is keen to not end up in the same situation as previous managers on Tyneside, with players remaining at the club but outside the 25-man squad.
The likes of Ghana international Christian Atsu, Senegalese Henri Saivet and Moroccan Achraf Lazaar have all suffered that fate in recent years.
“I would never leave a player in a situation where they can’t play football, and not be given the chance to go out on loan. I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
“We will be fair with everyone. But that’s not really something I have thought about yet.”
Two players who are likely to leave in the next 24 hours are Matty Longstaff, younger brother of first-team midfielder Sean, and rising star Elliot Anderson.
“We will see with Matty,” said Howe.
“First and foremost I will say he is like his brother, a great lad. Really enthusiastic, very passionate about the football club.
“In terms of his career and the latter part of the season, we will have to see what the future holds.”
And in reference to Anderson, who has been attracting interest from the likes of Luton Town in recent weeks, said: “With Elliot we are looking at loaning him. The focus of him staying behind (in the UK during the Saudi trip) was so he was ready to move and join another club on a loan deal.
“We are waiting to see if that is going to happen or not.”
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