Newcastle United transfer target ‘pulls out’ of matchday squad amid incoming fresh bid

Joao Pedro may not feature for Watford at Preston North End as speculation surrounding a move to Newcastle United continues.

Newcastle United transfer target Joao Pedro is a doubt for Watford’s Championship fixture against Preston North End this afternoon.

The Magpies saw an opening offer thought to be around £20million rejected by the Hornets earlier this week.

Watford insist the 20-year-old is not for sale amid rumours of a new and improved bid. Indeed, United believe a compromise can be reached.

And reports from The Athletic claiming Pedro is a significant doubt for today’s trip to Preston will only heighten speculation regarding a potential to St James’ Park.

Watford player Joao Pedro (r) celebrates with team mates after scoring their goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on January 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Instead of travelling with his teammates to Lancashire on Friday, the Brazilian underwent a scan after experiencing soreness in his ankle.

The final decision on whether or not he features against Preston will be made this morning. Magpies fans will be watching with a keen eye when Watford’s starting XI is released at 2pm.

“There has been a bid in for Joao that’s been talked about,” Hornets boss Rob Edwards confirmed on Thursday.

“It’s not anywhere near the level that we would expect it to be for him, but I’m involved in that conversation and if anything else was to come in again, we’ll sit down and talk about it as a club and as a board.”

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe remained tight-lipped when asked about the club’s interest in Pedro. He said: “Nothing. No intel, unfortunately.”