Hughton hopeful Taylor will stay at Newcastle

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The Independent Online

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton remains hopeful of keeping defender Steven Taylor as talks over his contract continue.

The 24-year-old was transfer-listed on Wednesday after he and his representatives had failed to reach agreement with the club, although the Taylor camp later insisted they were happy to continue the negotiations.

It is understood the player has since been offered a slightly different deal, and Hughton today confirmed that discussions are ongoing with just days of the transfer window remaining.

He said: "As always, we would prefer to keep it in-house, but it becomes very difficult these days.

"But discussions are ongoing. Steven is certainly a player we would like to remain at this football club.

"He is a player we value very highly and discussions are very much ongoing. We are very hopeful."

Hughton, who confirmed that Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote has been granted a work permit, also revealed that talks over a move for Marseille's Hatem Ben Arfa have also resumed after weeks of speculation.

The 23-year-old, who could join on loan with a view to a permanent move, recently flew to Tyneside in an attempt to push through the transfer, but no agreement between the clubs had been reached at that point.

Hughton said: "What I can tell you is there have been some discussions with Ben Arfa which are very much ongoing and hopefully, that's something that can be done."

However, any deal could yet rest on whether or not the player is prepared to accept the wage packet on offer at St James' Park with Taylor having already discovered Mike Ashley is sticking to his strict structure.

Meanwhile, Hughton, who denied having an interest in Portsmouth's John Utaka, was coy when asked about reports linking him with a loan move for Tottenham striker Robbie Keane.

He said: "That's very much speculation at this moment in time."

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