Reports indicate Newcastle United have agreed on a transfer fee for 23 year old Dutch utility player Vurnon Anita, who has been a long-standing target of the Magpies' manager Alan Pardew this summer. The Ajax midfielder, who can also play at left back, has spent 13 years at the Amsterdam Arena, having joined the champions as young boy.
"The clubs have a deal, I think €8.5m (£7m). Now I have to reach an agreement with Newcastle. I have an offer, but I can't say more about this. The clubs have agreed a fee, but I have not. I'm still an Ajax player. I think it will be finished soon, but you never know how it will go. I have played for Ajax for 13 years, it has been a great time and I am grateful to Ajax," Anita was quoted as saying. An earlier IBTimes UK report stated that Newcastle's first bid of £5m had been rejected, with his agent, Harry Lulofs, suggesting a fee in the region £7m might be better received.
The Dutch club were reportedly unwilling to consider a transfer earlier in the summer, with the club's director of football, Marc Overmars, dismissing reports of a bid. The player's agent confirmed his client was the subject of interest and would welcome a move to England but only if negotiations between the two clubs were amicably resolved.
In fact, to help persuade Anita to remain in the Dutch capital, the club were readying a new and more lucrative contract for the player - one that would have extended his contract (his deal with Ajax ends in 2014) by at least another year. Anita has made more than a 100 appearances for Ajax since his debut in 2005 and has been capped for the Netherlands at the senior level.
Midfielder a Doubt for Opener
Meanwhile, Pardew has admitted that Ivorian central midfielder Cheick Tiote may not be fit enough to play in the club's opening game of the league season (against Tottenham), after suffering a minor injury in a pre-season friendly against Cardiff City.
"Chieck has a calf strain so we will have to monitor him. We are sweating on him for next Saturday. Colo (Argentinean centre back Fabricio Coloccini) also has a knock but I'm not sure how that is. He is due to travel to Argentina but we will have to assess him, too," Pardew explained to the Daily Mail. There are also fitness concerns over both central strikers - Demba and Papiss Cisse - but Pardew is confident his star men will recover in time. Newcastle were soundly beaten in their final pre-season game, losing 1-4 to the Bluebirds.