Newcastle frustrated in pursuit of FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong

 

Newcastle are refusing to become bogged down in transfer brinkmanship as
they attempt to strengthen Alan Pardew's hand for the new season.

The Magpies are understood to have had a take-it-or-leave it bid for FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong rejected with varying reports on the continent suggesting their final offer amounted to anywhere between 12million and 14million Euros (£9.6million to £11.2million).

However, having received little encouragement from a club reluctant to sell in any case and holding out for, by manager Steve McClaren's own admission, "silly money", they are now considering alternative targets.

The Tyneside hierarchy is yet to be convinced that De Jong is sold on a move to the north-east and with German outfit Borussia Dortmund and Barclays Premier League rivals Tottenham also interested, will not allow themselves to become engaged in a bidding war.

Newcastle have done much of their recent and hugely successful recruitment very much within a budget and have been held up as a model of what can be achieved with extensive research and astute spending.

To an extent, their reputation goes before them and having seen them snap up bargains in the shape of the likes of Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba - Papiss Cisse was significantly more expensive - selling clubs are perhaps being more ambitious with their valuations.

That is, however, likely to make little difference with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias, who revel in their ability to drive a hard bargain, and it would be unwise to expect any radical change in policy.

The Magpies, of course, represent a far more attractive proposition than they did when the likes of Tiote and Cabaye signed as a result of last season's fifth-place finish and the Europa League football it secured.

That will increase the demands on Pardew's squad for the new campaign, and with another African Nations Cup likely to rob them of key players once again in January, their resources could be stretched without an influx of new blood.

French midfielder Romain Amalfitano has already arrived from Reims, but Leon Best's £3million departure for Blackburn yesterday and Fraser Forster's expected move to Celtic, which should bring in another £2million, mean there is further room for manoeuvre.

However, the prospect of Cisse missing a large proportion of pre-season to represent Senegal at the Olympic Games appears to be receding with Newcastle actively involved in discussions aimed at keeping the player with them.

Meanwhile, Hatem Ben Arfa was among four players today told they will be called before the France Football Federation's disciplinary committee to explain their alleged conduct during the Euro 2012 finals.

Ben Arfa, Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Yann M'Vila are the subjects of proceedings following a series of incidents during the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The Newcastle man was allegedly involved in a dressing-room altercation following the 2-0 defeat to Sweden in France's final Group D game.

Speaking at a press conference, FFF president Noel Le Great said: "I don't like to punish by nature and I don't like to deliver a hasty opinion, but our players should be punished or sanctioned.

"I don't want them thinking they are victims. They are not."

PA

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