Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Viduka Deal Is Not Sealed Yet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Viduka Deal Is Not Sealed Yet

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Sam Allardyce's attempts to make Mark Viduka a Newcastle player might not be as straightforward as he had hoped following Gareth Southgate's insistence that the Australian could still be at Middlesbrough next season.

With Mike Ashley's takeover talks with the United board reported to have been a 'useful and constructive discussion', Allardyce has been given permission to proceed with his squad restructuring work ( and the 52-year-old has wasted no time.

Scott Parker is understood to be close to completing a move to West Ham, with Manchester City's Joey Barton having been identified as the midfielder's replacement at St James's Park.

But, although Viduka has made a verbal commitment to join the Magpies this summer, Southgate has not abandoned his attempts to keep the 31-year-old on Teesside.

The striker's presence in Australia has complicated Allardyce's attempts to complete a deal. And, although it seems inevitable that Viduka will line up against Boro during next season's Tyne-Tees derbies rather than for them, Southgate is adamant the player's departure is not a foregone conclusion. "Mark Viduka is undecided about his future at the present time," said Middlesbrough's manager, who is planning to make one last attempt to retain the former Elland Road favourite's services.

"We are aware there are a number of offers on the table for him, but we are still talking and we are still hopeful that he will be a Boro player next season."

Allardyce thinks otherwise and Glenn Roeder's successor is confident he can succeed where his predecessor could not and make Viduka a United player at last following several abortive attempts in the past.

Viduka has received lucrative offers from West Ham and Portsmouth, but is reluctant to leave his home in Harrogate.

His determination to remain in the north makes Newcastle and Boro his best options ( with the latter's proposed financial package understood to have put United in the driving seat. Should Ashley's proposed pounds 133m takeover bid progress as planned, resources will not be a problem for Allardyce. The billionaire has outlined his intentions to the board, and Newcastle's directors are considering his offer for their shares. …

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