NEWCASTLE United have made their first decisive move in the summer transfer market by lodging a bid in the region of £9m for Galatasaray’s highly-rated winger Arda Turan.
United are anxious to tie up a deal before the start of Euro 2008 and will press the Turkish club for a swift response to their initial offer for the attacking midfielder, who is set to play a key role in his country’s campaign at the finals in Austria and Switzerland.
The move, which will be seen as a statement of intent after a summer spent mostly on the periphery of the transfer market, has been sanctioned by owner Mike Ashley after both Kevin Keegan and executive director (football) Dennis Wise identified him as a player capable of plugging the gap left by compatriot Emre.
Whether £9m will be enough to bring in the hotly-rated midfielder (pictured below) is another matter and indeed United’s first move may prompt more firm interest in Arda, who has been tracked by a host of European clubs including Barcelona, Villarreal, Fiorentina and AC Milan.
The selling club would certainly be keen to prompt a bidding war for the player, and Galatasaray’s chairman Adnan Polat was quoted last week as saying that an offer of £13m would secure the services of Arda.
The Istanbul club has debts of around £45m and is resigned to losing the highly-rated Istanbul-born player, who has won 19 senior caps and scored 14 goals in 72 games in the Turkish top flight.
But they may delay a response to United’s first offer until after the finals in Austria and Switzerland in the hope of drawing more interest and raising the asking price towards the £13m mark, which is what they believe their star asset is worth.
Arda, 21, can play wide on the left or in a withdrawn role behind the strikers and boasts many of the same attributes that attracted United to the Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, who rejected Newcastle’s overtures to sign for Spurs.
The Magpies’ bid for Arda is a welcome sign that the club is beginning to make positive moves in a market that remains sluggish in the run-up to Euro 2008 and a sign of the club’s continuing intent in the transfer market.
After a summer dominated by talk of reining in the wild spending that has characterized United’s recruitment policy in recent close seasons, the substantial offer for one of European football’s rising stars is a clear signal that the board will continue to back manager Keegan with transfer funds.
Crucially, Arda will not command anything like the wages of the players that they have signed in previous close seasons and that means he fits neatly into the blueprint set out by Ashley when he met Keegan and Wise before the end of the season.