Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sam Close to First Signing

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sam Close to First Signing

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lee Ryder

Sam Allardyce admitted today he is close to a "breakthrough" in the transfer market as he looks to land his first new face at St James' Park.

The amount of cash Allardyce has available for transfers at the moment is unclear due to the uncertainty caused by last week's takeover bid by billionaire Mike Ashley and the impact this will have on the current board.

Therefore, it is more likely that the two out-of-contract players on United's radar may be the first new signings on board, with defender Ben Haim and striker Mark Viduka the most realistic targets for now.

And while the talk from the US was that a potential Premiership loan move for LA-bound David Beckham will fail to materialise, there were still some optimistic noises today that the recalled England star could yet appear in a black-and-white shirt.

Allardyce has enjoyed a short break in the south of France since his appointment. But his phone has been switched on during his vacation which coincided with last Wednesday's sensational devel-opments when sports tycoon Ashley launched a takeover bid by snapping up Sir John Hall's stake in United.

Allardyce told the Chronicle today: "We've already had lots of meetings and talked about future plans for new players here.

"Those talks are continuing, and we are close to making a breakthrough in the not-too-distant future.

"Everybody here is working together to take the club forward."

Israeli international Ben Haim is thought to be more than keen to link up with Allardyce again and, because his contract with Bolton has expired, he is a free agent who is unlikely to return to the Reebok Stadium next term.

Although The 25-year-old has also been linked with a move to Chelsea, he knows he would be guaranteed a major role in Allardyce's plans, probably playing alongside Steven Taylor

Ironically for Ben Haim, Big Sam was desperate to get him to sign a new deal during his days at Bolton, but the fact that the defender resisted could now turn out in his favour.

Viduka, on the other hand, has several options, but was interested in moving to St James' Park last summer before his contract ran out at Middlesbrough and he is still very much a target. …

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