Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Newcastle plan new deals for two stars, with one attracting interest from Serie A

Newcastle are reportedly planning to offer two first-team stars new contracts, with one of them attracting interest from the Premier League and Serie A.

The Magpies’ survival hopes have given a boost in recent weeks amid a six-match unbeaten run in the league. That includes impressive victories over Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa.

Eddie Howe’s side added another point to their tally on Saturday by holding West Ham to a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.

Craig Dawson put the Irons ahead by connecting with an Aaron Cresswell free-kick in the 32nd minute. But Joe Willock dragged Newcastle level by finishing past Lukasz Fabianski in first-half stoppage time.

The result took Newcastle up to 22 points from 24 matches. They have a four-point gap on the league’s relegation zone and now look like they could avoid the drop.

Newcastle also have a decent run of fixtures coming up. They face Brentford on Saturday, before playing Brighton and Southampton.

Newcastle went big in the transfer market in January and may do so again this summer. However, Howe also wants the club to tie down two of his most important players.

Contract talks set

According to The Telegraph, Newcastle are planning to enter contract negotiations with Swiss centre-back Fabian Schar.

The 30-year-old’s current terms expire at the end of the season. His situation has led to interest from Premier League rivals, as well as Italian clubs Milan and Napoli.

Newcastle are aware of the links and want to prevent his exit from St James’ Park. Schar is also in line for a pay rise after several solid performances under Howe.

Once Schar’s future is sorted, the Magpies will then discuss a new deal for English midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.

Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle

His contract runs until 2023, so club officials want to finalise an extension before the start of next season.

Shelvey has only missed one league match since Howe’s arrival on November 8, with that down to injury. The Romford-born star hit the only goal in January’s away win at Leeds, and also captained the Magpies against West Ham.

Howe views Shelvey as an integral player and wants to keep him around as the exciting Newcastle project gets underway.

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Newcastle boost in striker pursuit

Meanwhile, Newcastle have seemingly been given permission to secure the signing of Hugo Ekitike, with an official at one of the striker’s former clubs expressing his delight at the move.

They had a deal for Reims’ France Under-21 international Ekitike all-but sealed until the move fell through on deadline day.

Reports in France claim the fee will be €35m (£29.1m) this summer, which represents a record-fee received for Reims.

And amid claims a summer move looks to be on, an official at his former club, Vejle Boldklub, is delighted at the news.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted his lightning progression, ” Henrik Tonder said. “So of course we were also surprised [at the fee Newcastle are willing to pay].

“We are just happy for Hugo and Reims, that both parties have the opportunity to achieve such a result.”

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