Four days on from reports that Steve Nickson was off to America to negotiate a deal for Miguel Almiron, the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder now claiming that the MLS star could arrive on Tyneside as early as ‘late December’ – but if only if Ashley sanctions a record breaking bid.
This suggests that he is very much open to a move to St James’ Park, with us clearly keen to get a deal wrapped up in principle before the January window opens, however it seems this may all rest on our ability to FINALLY break our £17m transfer record.
Here’s a snippet from Lee Ryder’s latest transfer ‘exclusive’ in the Chronicle on Sunday:
“Benitez has prioritised the signings of full-back cover and a new winger but there is growing confidence that a striker could also be added to that list.
“The club’s hierarchy have been told in great detail about the exact package it would take to sign Almiron – and if talks between Atlanta and head of recruitment Steve Nickson go well he could even arrive in the North-East in late December.
“However, one fear behind the scenes is whether Mike Ashley will be prepared to break the transfer record to sign the £25million-rated player.
“Ashley has indicated that funds are in the bank for new players in January but how much he will stretch to remains to be seen.”
This really could be massive when it comes to Benitez’s future.
We’ve identified the target, he’d fill a real problem position (with us lacking pace, spark and quality in attacking midfield areas) and he appears to be an in-demand player with genuine talent to shine in the top flight. Rafa clearly wants him and the noises are that he’d be open to the move, so it could now rest on Ashley’s ability to show ambition.
If Ashley sanctions the deal and we break our club record fee with the signing of an exciting new attacker then Rafa’s chances of signing a new contract increase considerably – but failure to spend will just confirm Rafa’s worst fears and seal his fate for me.