More transfer talk

Last updated : 07 July 2004 By Nicky Bremner
The Welsh midfielder is said to be available if Nicky Butt moves to Tyneside. Goalkeeper Harper has always been understudy to Ireland international Shay Given and has had limited first-team opportunities.

However the Butt deal has lost momentum over the last few days. Manchester United are looking for a higher price than the initial £3 million for Butt's services. Sir Bobby Robson is unsure whether it is worth paying as much as £5 million when he has Gary Speed.

As far as right-backs are concerned it looks like Portugese star Miguel has been priced out of Newcastle's league. Arsenal are favourites to sign Tunisian star Hatem Trabelsi, although a Newcastle move for the tenacious Ajax defender has not been ruled out.

"Arsenal and Newcastle are both in contention to sign Hatem," commented Trabelsi's representative, Frank Sedoc. "But there is also interest from another club. Ajax are ready to let him negotiate with other clubs from tomorrow."

Greek international Georgios Seitaridis, admittedly a target for Newcastle, has already agreed terms with Champions League winners, Porto.

"I can tell you Newcastle wanted to buy him" commented Sir Bobby, "and I can say today we have missed out on a great, great player".

Choices for a new right-back, Robson's priority, are thus looking thin. Stephen Carr's name has been put back in the driving seat, although many feel that utility player Kieron Dyer would be the best man to cover Aaron Hughes. But this suggestion has appeared to have been rejected.

"Dyer might have begun his career as a right-back but he hasn't played there for six or seven years," said a club insider.

His best position is midfield, whether it be out wide on the right or left or straight through the middle. His pace and energy are a huge asset in that area of the field.

"We're very confident of signing a specialist right-back before the start of the season. There are still more than five weeks in which to do that, so there's no panic."

Meanwhile any deal for James Beattie look to have been dropped. Beattie's agent Jon Smith has said that "There’s absolutely nothing happening."

An interesting set of rumours. I wouldn't lose much sleep if we didn't get Butt. I do, however, hope we get a new right-back, as opposed to Kieron 'handyman' Dyer. I severly doubt Speed will go to Boro. Voice your opinions on the messageboard.