Jun 15, 2017
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Newcastle round-up: Liverpool midfielder targeted; Ligue 1 attacker on radar; Pochettino discusses opening day weekend

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Newcastle United have asked about the availability of Lucas Leiva as they look to add experience and quality to their squad ahead of their return to the Premier League. The Northern Echo report that Rafa Benitez is keen to add a couple of midfielders and has identified the Liverpool player as one of the men that he would like to bring to St James’ Park. The Brazilian was given his debut for the Reds by the current Magpies’ boss and a reunion could benefit both men.

Given he is no longer a regular in the Liverpool first team, this is a move that makes a lot of sense and it would represent good business for Newcastle. They would be getting an experienced Premier League midfielder, who would be a good influence on the dressing room for a reasonable fee. Benitez will want to bring in players that he believes can be trusted and suit his system. Lucas certainly fits that description and this is a possible transfer to keep an eye on.

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Another player that is being linked to Newcastle is Nicolas Pepe. The Independent report that the Magpies and Watford are both interested in the Angers’ forward, who impressed in the most recent campaign. The French club aren’t going to be willing sellers and they will dig their heels in when it comes to a price, as they know the value that the Ivorian possesses. The report goes on to state that £15 million could be enough to secure a deal for the 22-year-old.

Newcastle are going to face a difficult task to find value in the transfer market, but they will be looking across the world for players that they believe can thrive in the Premier League. Pepe would be a risky, but exciting signing, as he has been very impressive in France. He is excellent at running with the ball, as he causes defenders nightmares with his pace and trickery. If he was signed, he would need to be given time to settle in, but the potential upside is huge.

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Finally, Newcastle are going to host Tottenham on the opening day of the new season and there is a backstory to the fixture, after the Magpies beat the North London side 5-1 on the final day of the 2015/16 campaign. That loss meant that Spurs finished below Arsenal and Mauricio Pochettino will use that game to motivate his players in August. The Chronicle report the following quotes from the Argentine:

“Newcastle is another motivation for us. The way that we finished the season before last is not too important now but we’ll have that in our mind to motivate us and we’ll try to win.

“Next season will be exciting and to start at St James’ Park will be very motivating for us.”

It is one of the most interesting fixtures that will be played on the opening weekend and it will be one that both sides will believe they can win. Pochettino talks about how the last meeting of the two clubs will motivate his players, but he will recognise the problems that Newcastle will pose, especially on the first weekend of the season.

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Newcastle United · Transfer Round-up
Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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