Newcastle move to sign Onyewu on loan

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The Independent Football

Newcastle United were last night working to secure a loan deal for the United States defender Oguchi Onyewu after he arrived on Tyneside for a medical.

The 24-year-old Standard Liège player flew into England as the manager Glenn Roeder closed in on one of the two temporary signings he hopes to make before tomorrow's transfer window deadline.

His arrival was confirmed by the Magpies, who are also trying to capture the St Etienne striker Frédéric Piquionne, 28, although both the Belgian and French clubs are understood to be keen to secure deals which will become permanent in the summer.

It is not the first time Onyewu has visited the North-east to discuss a move, having been courted by Middlesbrough before they opted to sign both Jonathan Woodgate and Robert Huth last summer.

The son of Nigerian parents, he was born in Washington DC and played college football before winning a move to the French side Metz in 2002. He was loaned to Belgian club La Louvière in 2003 and Standard a year later before earning a permanent switch to the Liège club.

Onyewu made his international debut against Panama in October 2004 and was part of the US team that won the Concacaf Gold Cup the following year and played in last summer's World Cup finals.

With Peter Ramage injured and Titus Bramble, Stephen Carr and Celestine Babayaro on the way back to fitness, Roeder desperately needs defensive reinforcements, and with little or no cash to spend, a loan signing is his only option. Onyewu has also been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United, Fulham and Marseilles in recent times.

The move of Middlesbrough's Massimo Maccarone to Siena is in the balance, with Boro yet to deliver the relevant paperwork to the Serie A club.

The Italian striker's agent claims the player has reached an agreement over a four-year deal with the Tuscan outfit, but the free transfer still requires some red tape to be completed before tomorrow's deadline. "We are awaiting one document from Middlesbrough for the deal to be completed," the player's agent, Paolo Fabbri, said.

Reading have completed the signing of the Australian teenager Oliver Bozanic on a two-and-a-half-year contract. The left-sided midfielder, 18, has played for his country's Under-20 team and first had a trial with the Royals more than two years ago. The club have also made an inquiry about the 31-year-old Stoke defender Michael Duberry, according to the Potters manager, Tony Pulis.

The 31-year-old former Chelsea and Leeds defender has been a key part of a Stoke defence which has conceded just 22 goals in the Championship all season but is out of contract in the summer. Pulis said: "Reading have inquired about Michael, but that's as far as it's gone. We inquire about 30 players a day but getting things done is a different thing. The problem we have is that he is out of contract at the end of the season."

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