Sir Bobby fuels Nobby rumours

Last updated : 09 January 2004 By Martyn Elliott

The manager’s comments about the press reports linking the Peruvian with a move to Aston Villa came after the 1-0 victory over Leeds, during which to these eyes Nobby was the best player on the pitch.

"If an offer came in for Solano, then we would listen to it," said Sir Bobby.

"There is something in the air with Villa but David O'Leary has not been on the phone to me and they've put no offer on the table.

"If there is genuine interest in one of my players, a club should come through the front door, not the back door."

The comments have been widely reported as Sir Bobby saying that the club want to sell Nobby, although that isn’t what he actually said.

Sir Bobby was responding to a direct question regarding the speculation about the player’s future and the answer presumably would apply to any player in the squad – the realities of business dictate that if the club receives a bid that matches or exceeds their valuation of a player they have to give it serious consideration.

Continuing speculation about a transfer always unsettles a player, so if Villa are interested it would be better if the bid comes as soon as possible - hopefully so that it could be rejected and forgotten about, but also so that the money can be re-invested in the team during January if the club decide to accept it.

Nobby’s recent relationship with Sir Bobby hasn’t been good so the nagging doubt remains that the club wouldn’t be too disappointed to see him go, but hopefully his last two performances might persuade the manager to hold on to him.

If the winger does leave it seems unlikely that Villa will be his destination as Doug Ellis would probably baulk at paying the kind of wages that his lucrative contract at St James’ Park provide him with. The other club strongly linked with buying Nobby are Spurs, but what kind of player would join a club without knowing who the manager is?

Anyway, Nobby claims that he isn’t interested in leaving, telling The Journal: "I have heard nothing about a possible move.

"I am happy to be back in the team, happy with the way the supporters are treating me and happy to be a Newcastle player.

"I know everybody has a price but I was surprised to read that the manager said he would listen to offers for me.

"That was news to me and I hope it is not right."