Newcastle United briefing: Nicolai Jorgensen transfer update, injury concern for Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez's side are out of both cups, but Newcastle United's Under-18s are still in the FA Youth Cup.

Wednesday, 7th February 2018, 10:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th February 2018, 10:35 am
Rafa Benitez

Dave Watson's team take on Norwich City at Carrow Road tonight in a fifth-round tie.

Newcastle beat Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace in the previous rounds of the competition.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Benitez, meanwhile, is preparing his team for Sunday's home game against Manchester United.

The club, which hasn't won at St James's Park since October, is one point above the relegation zone.

Here's your daily briefing:

Summer move?

Nicolai Jorgensen

Nicolai Jorgensen's agent has been talking about United's interest in the Feyenoord striker.

The club had a £15million bid turned down late in last month's transfer window.

Representative Mikkel Nissen said: "Newcastle would really like him and did a lot to make it happen, but Feyenoord is at Jorgensen until summer. I can confirm that Newcastle specifically wanted to have him, and did a lot to make it successful.

“They just did not want to sell him in this transfer window and will first look at it this summer.

Mikel Merino

“But now he’s ready to take the next step. It’s always a balance to find the right time to go on, but I think we’ll find a solution this summer. Feyenoord will have also had time to look for a replacement.”

Back on it

United midfielder Mikel Merino was strongly linked with a move to Athletic Bilbao by the Spanish press.

The club only sign Basque players, and Merino, from Pamplona, is eligible to play for the La Liga club.

Florian Lejeune

Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund on a permanent deal early this season, is now close to 100% fitness after recovering from the back problem which sidelined him late last year.

Knee bother

Florian Lejeune, an unused substitute against Crystal Palace last weekend, has made a timely return to fitness at United.

The defender has recovered from the foot injury he suffered last month.

Ciaran Clark – who has partnered captain Jamaal Lascelles in Lejeune's absence – suffered a knee injury at Selhurst Park, and the 28-year-old is being assessed ahead of the Man United game.

Nicolai Jorgensen

"He took a blow to the knee, but I think it's too early for me to say," said Benitez. "We have to wait and see, but I don't see it as a big issue."

Lejeune, signed from Eibar last summer, had tweeted about his return before the Palace match, which ended 1-1.

"Glad to be back with the team for today’s game," said Lejeune.

Meanwhile, new signing Islam Slimani hopes to make his debut against Jose Mourinho's side after missing out against Palace because of a groin problem.

Up for the cup

Newcastle last won the FA Youth Cup in 1985, so could this be the club's year?

United coach and ex-Norwich defender Dave Watson told NUFC TV is relishing the tie against the 2013 winners at Carrow Road.

"I'm really looking forward to it, as the kids are," said Watson. "The carrot dangling if we get through this one is a home tie, which is fantastic experience for the kids, but it's all good experience.

"They've got a decent side, but it's all about what we do on the day. If we perform to the high standards we can do, we'll be all right."

United winger Adam Wilson said: "The Youth Cup games are the biggest games of the season, in my view. Playing at the big stadiums – at Palace, at home at St James’s last year – is unbelievable.

"You just want to get through.”

Mikel Merino
Florian Lejeune