Kenny Dalglish yesterday admitted that Newcastle United need to show a marked improvement before they can win European trophies - but his immediate concern lies on the domestic front. To this end, he is set to make Georgia's midfield schemer Temur Ketsbaia his first signing for Newcastle United this weekend.
Dalglish is poised to tie up a move for the AEK Athens player, whose contract expires in the summer and who available at a cut-price pounds 300,000. Ketsbaia is travelling to Tyneside to sign a pre-contract agreement and will arrive permanently in the summer.
Sheffield United have been trying to sign Ketsbaia, but the player wants to move to the Premier League and is delighted to be joining Newcastle. For now, though, he will stay with AEK and help them in their quest for the European Cup-Winners' Cup and the Greek title.
Dalglish is desperate to recruit new players but has been frustrated so far. He has little money to spend and is scouring Europe for bargains.
The Newcastle manager, whose side were outclassed by Monaco in the Uefa Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, was at the European Cup tie between Juventus and Norway's Rosenborg Trondheim last night looking at more targets for the summer.
Dalglish gave due praise to Monaco after the French League leaders beat the Magpies 3-0 to complete a 4-0 aggregate win - but Newcastle's long- term planning will take second place behind the short-term necessity of qualifying for next season's European campaign.
"We've got to succeed at home first and take it from there," Dalglish, whose side are fourth in the Premiership, said.
Newcastle have nine League games left - starting with Sunday's tough trip to Wimbledon. Dalglish expects his players to bounce back from their European disappointment against Joe Kinnear's men. "They're professional footballers and they should be able to lift themselves," he said.Reuse content