Newcastle seek youth after losing out in race for Aimar

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The Independent Online

Newcastle yesterday turned their attention to alternative targets after losing out to Benfica in the race to sign Pablo Aimar.

The Magpies were hopeful of pushing through a late deal for the Argentinian midfielder when it appeared their Portuguese rivals' bid to sign him had faltered. However, Benfica announced yesterday that they had made a breakthrough, with Newcastle seemingly unable to come up with the financial package to seal the transfer.

The club will not be making a move for the Germany international Torsten Frings. It is understood Newcastle has been contacted about the 31-year-old Werder Bremen player, but officials have decided not to pursue an interest in him. That is perhaps a reflection of Newcastle's current policy of attempting to recruit talented players with time on their side, rather than men approaching the end of their playing days. In addition, their willingness in the past to pay more than competitive wages to secure big-name players is a distant memory.

Stephen Carr, Peter Ramage, James Troisi, Lamine Diatta and David Rozehnal have departed from a squad which Keegan believes was short on numbers last season and, although a series of young players has also been recruited since the manager's arrival, most are some way off the first-team scene.

There has also been persistent interest in striker Shola Ameobi, who has been linked with Stoke, Ipswich, West Brom and Norwich so far this summer. Canaries manager Glenn Roeder is an admirer of the frontman but feels his price-tag is too steep.

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