Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clubs Line Up for United Youngsters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clubs Line Up for United Youngsters

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

NEWCASTLE United could see their resolve to hold on to their players tested again before the start of the season as their Premier League rivals continue to monitor the availability of key men James Milner and Steven Taylor.

After the departure of David Rozehnal and Emre earlier in the summer manager Kevin Keegan is insistent that the club will not sell any players in first-team contention next season, and he has earmarked key roles for both Milner and Taylor in his efforts to haul United into the battle for European qualification.

But Keegan's repeated determination to hold onto the pair has not deterred the likes of Aston Villa, who remain keen on signing Milner and Spurs, who are continuing to look at defender Taylor. Villa's interest in Milner has apparently been sparked by their lack of progress in the pursuit of David Bentley and, although Keegan envisages a new role in central midfield for his former England Under-21 man United's resolve would surely face a serious examination if Martin O'Neill tabled a significant bid.

After signing his new contract earlier in the close season Taylor is more of an open and shut case - he has indicated several times this summer that he does not want to leave and United would surely rebuff any approach for him.

Although United might listen to approaches for fringe men like David Edgar and Shola Ameobi, any enquiry for Milner or Taylor would be viewed as hugely unwelcome by Keegan, who is desperate to make a breakthrough in the transfer market as he seeks to strengthen his squad. There appears to be little chance of that happening in the immediate future, with United one of several Premier League clubs waiting for progress in some of the key deals that could prompt some movement in the transfer market.

While Keegan waits on progress in the market, he will be looking for steady improvement on the field when they travel to Doncaster this weekend.

While Keegan will treat the friendly in South Yorkshire seriously, he will once again be without two of their first choice front men, with Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins both ruled out of the club's first visit to the Keepmoat Stadium. …

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