Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kinnear May Land a January Bargain; Pounds 3m Enough to Sign Ferguson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kinnear May Land a January Bargain; Pounds 3m Enough to Sign Ferguson

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE E DWARDS

JOE Kinnear could be on the verge of making his first signing as Newcastle United manager after Glasgow Rangers slashed their asking price for midfielder Barry Ferguson to just pounds 3m, writes LUKE E DWARDS.

Although Kinnear appeared to distance himself this week from earlier claims that he wanted to sign the Scotland international, the pressing need for players, coupled with the prospect of a cut-price deal, may be enough to push the transfer through.

The Magpies are desperate for new players in virtually every position, but the centre of midfield is an area of particular concern for Kinnear.

With Nicky Butt suspended, Joey Barton and Alan Smith injured and Danny Guthrie struggling with flu, Newcastle's engine room could be severely weakened against West Ham United this weekend.

Although the 30-year-old Ferguson does not fit the club's transfer strategy of only signing young players who will still have a re-sale value when they move on from St James's Park, needs must.

The skipper of the Scottish national side has played more than 300 league games for Rangers and Blackburn Rovers, as well as 44 games for his country, and his experience would be a useful asset for the Magpies in their present predicament.

Although Kinnear has guided Newcastle out of the bottom three they are just two points and four places above the relegation places and desperately need to beat West Ham at the weekend if they are going to keep themselves out of trouble.

Ferguson has come in for criticism in Scotland this season following his return from injury, but he would still be a useful addition to a United squad which has been stretched virtually every week this season following the failure to sign the required number of players last summer.

Fears over the threadbare nature of the squad, along with a lack of control over the club's transfer policy, were the chief reasons for former manager Kevin Keegan's sudden departure back in September.

It is a problem which has still not been properly addressed, with Kinnear worried the limited transfer budget which has been released to him by owner Mike Ashley will mean he finds it virtually impossible to persuade clubs to part with players midway through the campaign. …

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