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Newcastle beat Premier League rivals to make Matt Targett first signing of the summer

NEWCASTLE: Matt Targett is set to become Newcastle United’s first signing of the summer.

Arab News has learned that the player is on Tyneside to complete the formalities of a permanent move from Aston Villa, including medical checks.

It is understood that the deal to take Targett from Villa Park totals around $15 million and represents the first major piece of incoming business done by the club’s new sporting director Dan Ashworth.

The 26-year-old left-back played 16 games for Eddie Howe last season, after signing on deadline day of the January transfer window.

Howe and United are understood to have explored the possibility of signing other, more progressive left-backs, including Brazilian international Renan Lodi, but were put off by the exorbitant fees quoted.

Targett himself is understood to have taken some convincing, having initially been in two minds about a permanent move to the northeast of England.

Newly promoted Fulham, where he spent six months on loan in 2018, also made moves to sign the Eastleigh-born former Southampton man this summer.

However, talks with Newcastle are believed to have developed quite quickly in the last seven days, with Premier League rivals Villa willing sellers, after signing France international Lucas Digne in the winter window.

Attention will now turn to other incomings, with United locked in talks to sign Reims’ striker Hugo Ekitike.

The framework of the deal is yet to be fully ironed out, with a low down payment likely to help the Magpies skirt around Financial Fair Play Regulations.

The deal could well total $37 million with add-ons included, although any payments included in this will be spread out over various windows and seasons, much like the brokered arrangements that brought Chris Wood and Bruno Guimaraes to the club.

Netherlands under-21 international Sven Botman is a player United are also keen to sign, with a stalled move to AC Milan reopening the door to a move for a player Newcastle had worked so hard to sign in January.

Botman had been expected to pen a long-term deal at the San Siro, with Paolo Maldini targeting the player to shore up the Rossoneri’s backline ahead of a Champions League campaign next season.

Botman is understood to have agreed terms with Milan, despite Newcastle’s continued interest. However, with no fee agreed with Lille, United are attempting to muscle in on any deal.



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