Newcastle United chief scout working on list of transfer targets ahead of £300m takeover

Newcastle United chief scout Steve Nickson has returned to work from furlough to build a list of transfer targets ahead of the proposed £300m takeover of the club. Nickson and his entire scouting team were placed on furlough by owner Mike Ashley following the suspension of football, which halted the club’s plan to identify summer transfer targets.

However, the Daily Mail claims Nickson is back in work and is now building a list of transfer targets on the premise that Steve Bruce remains as manager, although the budget for future transfers is still unknown.

The proposed takeover of Newcastle by a Saudi-backed consortium is still awaiting Premier League approval, but the new owners are not looking to immediately replace Bruce, who will be given the chance to see out the season.

Bruce’s future beyond that remains unclear, with Newcastle linked with several managers, including former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Newcastle’s players are preparing to return to training at the end of the week, although there could be an exodus of players in the summer if the new owners finalise the takeover.

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The Magpies have already been linked with several top players, including Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.

It is not known if Nickson already has these players on his shortlist, but according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Newcastle want Coutinho to be one of several new signings this summer.

The 27-year-old had struggled to win over fans in Barcelona since joining from Liverpool for £142million in January 2018.

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He is on loan at Bayern Munich this season, but the German club are not planning on making the move a permanent one.

Coutinho is keen on a return to the Premier League, although Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton are also interested in the talented Brazilian.

It would make sense for Newcastle to bring in another striker as summer-signing Joelinton has struggled in his debut season at the club.

The 23-year-old, who arrived from Hoffenheim for a club-record £40m last summer, has only scored three goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.

And according to French publication Foot Mercato, Newcastle are considering a move for Edinson Cavani.

The 33-year-old Uruguayan is out of contract at the end of this season and is looking for regular minutes next term.

Despite falling behind Mauro Icardi in the pecking order at PSG, Cavani has still scored seven goals in 22 games this campaign, with 10 of those appearances coming off the bench.

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As for Koulibaly, the Napoli defender has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs in recent years, including Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, according to Foot Mercato, Newcastle have already contacted Napoli about the availability of the Senegal international.

It claims the club’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, is willing to sell the 28-year-old this summer but isn’t prepared to lower his £70m (€80m) valuation of the centre-back.

Koulibaly’s arrival at St James’ Park for such a fee would make a clear statement from the club’s prospective new owners. They are headed by Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners but the majority of the backing will come from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

The proposed takeover is still awaiting Premier League approval, as it carries out the process of conducting checks to make sure the funding is in place and the principals involved pass the league’s fit and proper person test.

And while these checks can take up to a month to be completed, although it is expected to be less, it has been ongoing for at least two weeks.

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