Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Keep Up Trawl for Talent; Ashley's Accent on Youth

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Keep Up Trawl for Talent; Ashley's Accent on Youth

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

MIKE Ashley's blueprint for Newcastle United's future continues to take shape as the Magpies close in on the signing of Plymouth teenager Aaron Spear.

While United fans clamour for the first big-name signing of the summer, which they hope will send out a signal of the club's renewed ambition ahead of the new season, United's owner is keen to ensure the club's long-term health is looked after as much as its short-term needs.

The Journal revealed last week that Ashley will be taking a more hands-on role at St James's Park next season following the departure of chairman Chris Mort.

This will see the billionaire take direct control of player recruitment, as well as having the key say in the on-going contract talks with skipper Michael Owen and defender Steven Taylor.

As a result, although Kevin Keegan will be back at his desk next week to step up the Magpies' first-team recruitment drive, Ashley continues to promote a policy which will see the Magpies attempt to sign the best young players in the country, even if some of these have never made a first-team appearance.

"We are not going to make big-name signings just for the sake of it," a senior Newcastle figure told The Journal. "If the right player is available and the price is right we will be in for them, but we don't want to buy established stars who are approaching the end of their careers on big wages who will need to be replaced in one or two years.

"We want young, hungry players who will be at this football club for a long time to come. That is the vision we have for the future of this football club. It is about the strength of the club over many years to come."

Spear will be the latest youngster to move to the North East when the deal finally goes through later this month. The 15-year-old will follow former Swindon prospect Ben Tozer, 18, Hungarian youth international Tamas Kadar, 18, French striker Wesley Ngo Baheng, 18, highlyrated Italian forward Fabio Zamblera, 18, and Swedish goalkeeper Ole Soderberg, 17, to St James's Park. …

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