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Donny van de Beek has rejected a loan move to Newcastle United, despite firm interest from the struggling Premier League side, because of their perilous league position.
Newcastle have approached Van De Beek through intermediaries, in the hope they could offer the Holland international an escape from Old Trafford.
Despite being told he remains part of Ralf Rangnick’s plans at Manchester United, Van de Beek continues to be confined to a substitute’s role. Even so, Newcastle have been told the former Ajax star is not willing to join them as things stand.
That is partly down to the fact Manchester United do not want to reduce the number of senior players in the squad in the middle of the season, but also because the player is not going to push to make the temporary switch to St James’ Park.
It is something Newcastle could revisit before the window shuts but they have more pressing needs at the moment with two defenders wanted this week.
Newcastle had also looked into the possibility of signing Gini Wijnaldum on loan from Paris St-Germain but have been given a similar answer.
Wijnaldum spent one season at St James’ Park after leaving PSV Eindhoven, but was sold to Liverpool after relegation to the Championship in 2016. Wijnaldum remains unsettled in Paris but it is thought he would like a move to a London club if he leaves on loan, with Arsenal at the front of the queue.
Newcastle are suffering plenty of setbacks in the transfer market, with English clubs reluctant to deal with them since they were taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and foreign clubs raising their asking prices to astronomical levels as soon as contact is made with the Magpies hierarchy.
In turn, the players who are willing to join are demanding release clauses in their contracts, which will allow them to leave for a set price if the club does lose its battle against relegation. Understandably, this has made Newcastle question if they will be committed enough to an increasingly difficult relegation battle if they do sign.
Telegraph Sport, though, has been told there is progress being made in other areas with a deal for Seville’s Diego Carlos there to be done. It is hoped that the pursuit could be concluded this week.
“We are working really hard on two deals at the moment and we are getting closer,” a senior source told Telegraph Sport. “But our league position is making things harder to persuade players to come, it makes a tough window even trickier to do business in.”
Seville and Newcastle are still negotiating a fee for Carlos but the 28-year-old Brazilian wants to make the move and that is helping Newcastle push for a breakthrough.
Those talks are ongoing and there is cautious optimism that he will be a Newcastle player by the time they take on Leeds United next weekend. Liverpool’s Nat Phillips is also a player of interest, as is Tottenham’s Joe Rodon.
Newcastle’s need for defensive reinforcement was once again highlighted in the 1-1 draw with Watford at the weekend. The Magpies took the lead through Allan Saint-Maximin early in the second half, but lost their attacking momentum and fell into the trap of trying to defend a slender lead. Watford secured a point, which kept Newcastle in the relegation zone, when Joao Pedro headed home an equaliser with three minutes remaining.
The goal was a poor one to concede, with Newcastle giving away possession cheaply after a needless quick throw from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, when he should have held on to the ball to let the clock run down.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles was then beaten in the air by Pedro, the Watford player allowed the space inside the area to make a running jump and rise above the Newcastle centre-backs in front of the Gallowgate End.
It was a huge blow for Howe who had openly talked about the need to win the game against one of their relegation rivals and there were boos after the final whistle.
As well as the need for new defenders, Howe is also keen to take the players away for a training and team bonding exercise next week with Saudi Arabia looking the most likely destination.
Although nothing has been confirmed at this stage, and other destinations have been looked at over the weekend, the Saudi Arabian government is keen for them to head to the Middle East. PIF has an 80 per cent stake in the club and wants to show off its new acquisition to the rest of the Middle East.
That is likely to incense critics of the takeover, who have always argued the Saudis are using Newcastle to sportwash their international reputation in the face of mounting criticism of the regime led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
It is not thought Howe or the players will meet the Crown Prince, although there will be various public relations events held to showcase their presence in the Kingdom. It is unlikely any media from the UK will be invited to Saudi Arabia to cover the training camp.