Sporting director confirms attacker removed from squad ahead of Newcastle United move

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Newcastle United are closing in on their first summer signing.

Odense sporting director Bjorn Wesstrom has confirmed Yankuba Minteh won’t feature against FC Midtjylland this afternoon - as he prepares to join Newcastle United.

As widely reported on Friday, Minteh is close to becoming the Magpies’ first summer signing in a transfer worth £6million.

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Wesstrom explained his decision to leave Minteh out of the squad today ahead of his expected medical on Tyneside in the coming weeks.

“It is a difficult decision, but with the risks and opportunities in this case, I have concluded that it is overall the best decision that he sit out the match against FC Midtjylland,” said Wesstrom.

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The 18-year-old, whose current manager Andreas Alm handed Alexander Isak his debut at AIK in 2016, has enjoyed an impressive breakthrough into senior football having scored four goals and provided six assists this season.

Minteh has also made inroads into the international scene after earning a first call up for Gambia for friendly matches against DR Congo and Liberia.

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The youngster admitted last month he was open to joining Eddie Howe’s Newcastle.

“Of course, I want to go to Newcastle,” Minteh said. “It’s a big club in the Premier League and they’re doing something good. They are fighting for a place in the Champions League. I am ready to take the next step, and it will only be good for me.”

Wesstrom revealed several clubs had enquired about Minteh - but it now appears the Magpies have won the race.

Wesstrom said: “I have been in dialogue with a number of top clubs, but we don’t know how it will end. There are always many rumours about a player who has the stats he has, and that is positive. We must have recruited him well.”

Minteh is expected to follow a similar developmental pathway to Garang Kuol. He joined from A-League side Central Coast Mariners in January before going on loan to Hearts.

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