Newcastle close in on Stoke striker; Rafa’s double blow

Date published: Tuesday 15th August 2017 12:49

Newcastle hope to complete their move for Stoke striker Joselu on Tuesday after making significant progress.

The 27-year-old travelled to Tyneside for a medical on Monday with negotiations ongoing and the Magpies are optimistic of completing a £5million swoop.

That would come as a boost to manager Rafael Benitez on a day which saw the club confirm that defenders Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett will be sidelined by injury for several weeks.

Benitez has been vocal in recent weeks over the club’s relative lack of transfer activity and with owner Mike Ashley having admitted over the weekend that he will not be pouring millions of his own money into the club, fans fear last season’s Sky Bet Championship winners could be left behind.

Ashley had previously promised the Spaniard “every penny” the club generated from promotion and players sales minus costs, and while that appeared to have handed him a transfer kitty in excess of £75million, only £31million has been invested in new signings to date.

Escalating transfer fees and wage demands have proved a problem for Newcastle, as has the presence of several players on the books who are now surplus to requirements, but whom they have been so far unable to offload.

Meanwhile, Lejeune and Dummett are beginning their respective recoveries from ankle ligament and hamstring injuries following a damaging first fixture back in the Premier League.

The three-game ban Jonjo Shelvey incurred for his sending-off would have been bad enough, but the loss of Dummett just seven minutes into the season, closely followed by Lejeune as the result of an ugly challenge by Tottenham striker Harry Kane, rubbed salt into the wound.

A club statement said: “Newcastle United have confirmed that defenders Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett will be out of action for a number of weeks.

“Both players were forced off with injuries during the first half of Sunday’s Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park.

“Dummett limped off with a hamstring injury after just seven minutes, before Lejeune – making his Magpies debut – sustained ankle ligament damage during a tackle by Harry Kane.

“Assessments by the club’s medical staff are continuing in order to establish the full extent of their injuries, but both players are expected to be out for weeks, rather than months.”

Newcastle face Huddersfield, who were also promoted from the Sky Bet Championship last season, on Sunday.

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