Dyer to follow Bellamy out of Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Graeme Souness is facing the loss of two of his young stars in the January transfer window. Both Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy are lining up moves away from Newcastle United.

Graeme Souness is facing the loss of two of his young stars in the January transfer window. Both Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy are lining up moves away from Newcastle United.

While Bellamy, who is embroiled in a row with his new manager, is considering putting in a transfer request and may look to move overseas, Dyer is thought to be the target of a surprise bid from Manchester United.

No approach has been made as yet for Dyer but he and Bellamy, both 25, are believed to be confident that they will secure moves in the new year. Both players have had colourful, at times tempestuous, careers at St James' Park.

The news will be a test to Souness, but if they leave it will give him the funds to reshape his side. There is already cash available and he is considering a bid for Chelsea's Damien Duff, but knows that he also has to strengthen his defence and find reinforcements in attack.

Yesterday Souness confirmed that he had had a meeting with the first-team squad to discuss Bellamy's behaviour after the Welsh international directed abuse at the manager following his substitution at the weekend. "We had a meeting," Souness said when asked about the confrontation which took place at the club's Darsley Park training ground on Tuesday prior to the flight to Athens for today's Uefa Cup tie against Panionios. Sources at Newcastle claim the exchange became heated after Bellamy again spoke out. Souness delivered "the mother of all rollickings," according to one.

However, Souness said yesterday: "What happened was a case of me pointing out what I expect from our players. Over the past week we've made headlines for the wrong reasons and I'm determined to stamp out non-footballing stories. Our supporters need to know what is going on at this football club but it has to be footballing stories that people are reading. The players are aware of how I think about non-footballing stories taking our eye off the ball. We have a big European game tomorrow and we don't need distractions."

Bellamy did not train after the incident and his whereabouts on the team-sheet may prove a clue as to what future Souness believes he has at the club.

With Patrick Kluivert absent, as he recovers from a hamstring problem and surgery to remove a wisdom tooth, and Shola Ameobi struggling with a recurrence of a hip injury, it would seem certain that Bellamy would partner Alan Shearer in attack. However, Souness's feelings are so strong that he may play Laurent Robert or James Milner further forward and consign Bellamy to the bench.

It has all served to over-shadow today's tie against a side who finished only sixth in the Greek league last season and who have lost three of their last four league matches. However, Souness was also quick to guard against complacency, especially as Panionios defeated another team in black-and-white strips, Udinese, to reach the Uefa Cup group stages.

"We are going into the unknown," Souness said. "We had them watched at the weekend but what we must do is give them respect. They'll be fit and organised and they'll be confident because their national team are the European champions."

Souness added: "The game that all the teams in this group are looking forward to is the Newcastle game and we must understand that. We are the big glamorous team from the English Premiership."

Souness is also concerned that Newcastle may not have the defensive nous to cope at the Nea Smymi Stadium. "If you look at the players we have, we are geared to going forward and getting after teams and scoring goals," he said. "We're not a team that will set our stall out and try and get a nil-nil."