CHRIS Hughton has admitted Newcastle United are unlikely to have any new faces for the start of pre-season training next week as he continues to fire blanks in the transfer market.
Hughton, though, is still relaxed about the lack of new signings this summer as he continues to point to a sluggish transfer market, restricted by the recession and the distraction of the World Cup in South Africa.
United’s manager had hoped to bring players in before the squad returns to Tyneside for training after an unusually long summer break on Saturday, but he is not concerned by his failure to do that or the fact Steven Taylor has still not signed a new contract.
Taylor only has 12 months left on his existing deal and will be able to leave for free at the end of it, but Hughton revealed there were “no updates” on the centre-back’s situation and would not even confirm whether the contract offer he was promised has been made.
With money tight at St James’ Park, Hughton is trying to do the best he can with the limited resources at his disposal, and the former Republic of Ireland international is keen to reassure supporters who are starting to worry about the state of the squad heading into a Premier League campaign.
Hughton said: “There is nothing happening at the moment, but I am not worried by that.
“Everyone is being cagey, nobody has done much business and there have only been two clubs in the Premier League who have signed anyone so far.
“It would have been nice to get two in before the start of pre-season training. That does not look like happening now, but it is quiet everywhere.
“It will pick up in the next two weeks, but it might even be a month or so before you see the market start to move again.
“What is important is we bring in the right players, not just any players.
“Just because we have not signed anyone yet does not mean we will not bring in the players we want.
“We want players in before August 14th (first day of the Premier League season), that is what is important.”
Despite the lack of money at Newcastle, the Magpies continue to be linked with a wide variety of players with attention focusing on Bolton Wanderers duo Jlloyd Samuel and Andy O’Brien last week. United have been in contact with Wanderers boss Owen Coyle, but Hughton is coy about their chances of signing Samuel and has denied O’Brien is set to move back to St James’ Park five years after leaving the club for Portsmouth following 120 games in the black and white stripes.
Hughton said: “Again, there is no update and we are not looking to sign Andy O’Brien.”
Meanwhile, Jonás Gutiérrez’s agent Pedro Jimenez Bravo has moved swiftly to end speculation linking the Argentina international (pictured left) with a move away from Newcastle following reports Serie A’s Lazio are interested in him. Gutiérrez is one of Newcastle’s most saleable assets, but Hughton is adamant nobody will be leaving this summer, and it does not look as though the winger will do anything to upset that view.
Bravo said: “Jonás is a Newcastle player, and still has three years left on his current contract. He intends to respect that contract with the Magpies.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle will send a side to play Luton Town in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday, August 4 according to the Blue Square Premier side’s website – although United insist they are yet to agree terms on the fixture.