Newcastle United are pursuing loan deals for Sheffield United star Sander Berge and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
The Magpies are expected to confirm the imminent departure of long-serving midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest and are now actively working to bring in a replacement before the window closes at 11pm on Tuesday. Shelvey travelled to Nottingham on Sunday after the two sides agreed a fee and the former Swansea City star is expected to sign a two-and-a-half year deal to end his seven-year stay at St James Park.
Speaking about the departure in his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg meeting with Southampton, Magpies manager Eddie Howe said: “This is a very difficult situation because from a football perspective, I definitely want to keep Jonjo, I rate him very highly - but then there is his situation to think about and that is where we have come to.
“We will see what we can do in the market to try and bring a player in. There is no guarantee on that as I’ve said with other transfers. We will try and we will see what we can do but I think in terms of permanent signings, that would be difficult, but we will look for potentially a loan situation, but again, it’s got to be the right player. We don’t want to take any player just for the sake of it.”
After submitting enquiries with clubs in the Premier League and abroad, the Magpies are believed to be focusing their attention on a move for either Berge and Gallagher to fill the hole in their squad left by Shelvey’s departure.
Gallagher has been a long-term target for the club, with their initial interest coming during Steve Bruce’s managerial reign at St James Park. The England midfielder was said to be the subject of a loan bid from the Magpies during the summer and they could now make another attempt to land Gallagher if Chelsea are successful in their bid to sign Argentina’s World Cup winning midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Portuguese giants Benfica.
But Everton, flush with the proceeds from the £40m sale of Anthony Gordon to Newcastle, are reportedly keen to secure Gallagher on a permanent deal as they look to make their first signing since Sean Dyche was confirmed as their new manager on Monday afternoon.
The situation surrounding Sheffield United star Berge is more complicated due to the Blades currently placed under a transfer embargo. With income needed from the sale of the Norway international, Fulham are believed to have lodged a bid worth around £20m to secure Berge on a permanent deal. Newcastle are keen on an initial loan deal with an obligation to sign the midfielder on a permanent deal at the end of the season for a fee said to be in excess of Fulham’s current.
The Norway star did not feature in the Blades’ 3-3 draw with National League club Wrexham in an FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday - and manager Paul Heckingbottom admitted Berge could leave the Championship club to ease their financial worries.
He said: “Our club is speaking to other clubs regarding him. It doesn’t mean he is going anywhere, Sander is happy here. But the situation we find ourselves in mid-takeover, transfer embargo, no clarity on which way it is going and financial issues.
“One way to resolve the issues is to sell a player. Everyone knows my thoughts on it. Sander is fine, he wants to stay, he’s fine. The clubs could be discussing a fee for Sander and he might want to stay. He wanted to play today but it’s a club decision to protect that asset.
“I am not going to say I agree with it but I understand it. I pulled him out on Saturday. I am not daft enough to know it may happen he was coming and was ready to travel. It would be massively disappointing to lose him but we are in an embargo and we have financial problems. One way to get out of that and raise money is selling players.
“I don’t want that but we are prepared for that if it happens.”