NEWCASTLE United will have to stump up £3.5million to prise Mark Davies away from Bolton, writes MILES STARFORTH.
The 24-year-old ex-Wolves midfielder is expected to leave the Reebok Stadium in the wake of the club’s relegation.
And Newcastle – who expect to lose Danny Guthrie this summer – now must decide whether to harden up their interest in Davies after tracking him this season.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle doesn’t want to lose Davies, who he has likened to Paul Gascoigne as a player.
But the financial consequences of relegation will bite at the Reebok Stadium this summer, and the former England youth international is one of the club’s most saleable assets.
Coyle’s United counterpart, Alan Pardew, is primarily focused on strengthening his defence in the transfer window.
And a number of targets – including Twente’s Douglas, Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy and PSV Eindhoven’s Erik Pieters – have been identified by the club’s chief scout, Graham Carr.
However, Pardew’s squad needs looking at elsewhere, not least midfield, with Guthrie – who had interested Aston Villa during Alex McLeish’s tenure – expected to leave on a free transfer in search of first-team football.
Guthrie is out of contract this summer, and didn’t feature in the Premier League run-in despite returning to fitness after a brief spell on the sidelines with a calf problem.
Pardew had been keen to keep the 25-year-old at the club, and talks were pencilled in for the end of the season.
But Guthrie’s mind appears to have been made up on a move away from St James’s Park, the former Liverpool player having grown frustrated at a lack of first-team starts.
Striker Leon Best will also be allowed to leave Newcastle after two and a half years at the club.
Meanwhile, James Tavernier will “set an example” to Newcastle’s younger generation in Hong Kong – after netting a new deal at the club.
Tavernier is the most experienced player in Willie Donachie’s 10-man squad for the Citibank Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens tournament this weekend.
It is understood that the defender – whose contract ends this summer – has been offered a new deal. And the 20-year-old has an important role on and off the pitch in the Far East.
Reserve-team manager Donachie said: “It’ll be up to him to be a leader”
The tournament, seven-a-side games with seven-minute halves, sees Newcastle face Aston Villa, Hong Kong and HKFA Dragons.
from their group tomorrow, they will go through to Sunday’s knockout phase.