Newcastle facing fight to keep squad together as Saudi club targets Miguel Almiron

Miguel Almiron - Newcastle facing fight to keep squad together as Saudi club targets Miguel Almiron

Eddie Howe may soon have to face up to the prospect that his Newcastle United team will need a major rebuild in the summer after Miguel Almiron became the latest big-name star to be targeted this month.

Although the Newcastle hierarchy are fighting to keep senior players beyond the January transfer window, they are already planning for upheaval in the summer with the growing possibility of a large turnover of players at the end of the season.

Newcastle have had firm interest shown in winger Almiron this month and could try to replace him with Nottingham Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White although that deal would be difficult to force through.

Although reports of a price for Almiron being agreed with Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab are inaccurate, talks are set to continue over the next few days and there is a chance the Paraguay international is sold before the end of the month.

Newcastle would then use that money to push to sign Everton’s Amadou Onana or another midfield target. Gibbs-White has also been scouted extensively by Newcastle’s recruitment team this season and was hugely impressive in Forest’s 3-1 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day. Forest are likely to resist any bid.

Even if an acceptable deal is not agreed before the deadline for Almiron it is highly likely the interest will be rekindled in the summer.

Newcastle’s transfer dilemmas pile-up

Telegraph Sport also understands that both Newcastle’s Brazil internationals, Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton, could be sold, while England international Callum Wilson is worried about his status in the squad beyond the end of this campaign and may also seek a move.

Rivals clubs, at home and abroad, have targeted Newcastle after chief executive Darren Eales admitted they would have to sell players to comply with Profit and Sustainability rules.

That has been slightly misinterpreted by some, with Newcastle sources insisting that they are currently looking to offload squad players, but both Bruno and Joelinton can effectively force their departures.

Newcastle have treated reports of interest in Wilson from Atletico Madrid and AC Milan in the last few days with raised eyebrows, but it is probably a sign of things to come with his representatives seemingly keen to try and create a future market for the 31-year-old.

Callum Wilson (L) Kieran Trippier (R)

With Bayern Munich making a bid to sign his club and international team-mate Kieran Trippier over the weekend, two of Howe’s stalwarts suddenly look vulnerable.

Telegraph Sport revealed on Sunday that Newcastle have informed both Trippier and Wilson that they are not for sale and the players have, in turn, insisted they will not agitate to leave. That stance is likely to be tested again in the summer though and there is bound to be some temptation, from a business perspective, to sell two players over the age of 30.

However, the majority of the concern surrounds Bruno, who is believed to be interested in taking on a new challenge in the summer and insisted on a release clause of around £100 million in the new contract he signed last year.

The 26-year-old, a £35 million signing from Lyon two years ago, is attracting strong interest from Paris Saint-Germain and is believed to be keen to play in Spain at some point in his career.

Newcastle accept they are powerless if a club chooses to activate Bruno’s release clause and signed Italy international Sandro Tonali, who is currently serving a 10-month ban for breaching betting rules while at AC Milan, partly as an insurance should Bruno feel he has outgrown them.

Meanwhile, Joelinton’s failure to sign a new contract will mean he is made available for transfer in June if he does not sign an extension before then.

Negotiations are set to continue over the next few weeks with the hope of reaching a compromise with a player who is currently demanding to become the highest paid player at St James’ Park.

Newcastle are already planning their shortlists for summer targets and if they do sell one or two of their big name stars, their financial power will be greatly increased.

Given their rapidly growing commercial revenue, which is now the seventh highest in the Premier League, Newcastle would be able to spend more than they ever have done in a single window since Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund took control in Oct 2021.

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