Newcastle United close in on de Jong

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NEWCASTLE United are hopeful of finally signing Borussia Monchengladbach’s Luuk de Jong on loan early next week.

The club is yet to make a breakthrough in this month’s transfer market.

And 23-year-old de Jong is Newcastle’s main striking target, with United looking to clinch him on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent transfer.

Up to now, Monchengladbach have been waiting to sign a replacement for de Jong, named as a substitute for last night’s Bundesliga game against Bayern Munich, before sanctioning the deal.

However, Newcastle are hopeful of making progress in the early part of the week.

While de Jong’s capture would be welcomed on Tyneside, supporters remain concerned that the club could lose Yohan Cabaye, despite the France international, previously a target for Arsenal, being lukewarm on a move to Paris Saint-Germain this month.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc - who has long coveted Cabaye and is determined to sign a midfielder in the window - yesterday suggested he was looking at Miralem Pjanic as an alternative to the 28-year-old.

“Pjanic could be of interest in the winter window, and could be an alternative to Cabaye,” said Blanc, whose public comments on his interest in Cabaye over the past few months have irritated United.

AS Roma, Pjanic’s club, quickly issued a statement on Twitter insisting the 23-year-old was “not for sale”.

The club tweeted: “AS Roma would like to stress that there are no talks underway regarding the exit of Miralem Pjanic. The player is not for sale.”

And PSG could yet test Newcastle with a bid, though the final decision on a move, should the Ligue 1 club meet United’s £20m-plus valuation, would rest with Cabaye, who is focused on maintaining his club form ahead of the summer’s World Cup finals.

Meanwhile, Newcastle defender James Tavernier is keen for his loan at Rotherham United to be extended to the end of the season.

The 22-year-old said: “Ideally, I would want to stay until the end of the season, because I’m enjoying my football.”