Newcastle close in on DOUBLE transfer swoop

Anderlecht's Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring against Arsenal
Anderlecht's Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring against Arsenal

Newcastle United are hopeful of making a double breakthrough in the transfer market – but the club is yet to bid for Charlie Austin.

A move for Aleksander Mitrovic is close to being completed – and United are also understood to be working on a second deal.

But Newcastle have not yet lodged a formal offer for Queens Park Rangers striker Austin.

One bookmaker this week suspended bets on the 26-year-old joining United, but a deal is not understood to be imminent.

Newcastle – and the other clubs chasing Austin – feel QPR’s £15million valuation is unrealistic for a player with just one year left on his contract.

United, however, still feel they are well placed in the race for Austin.

There could be significant progress on the proposed deal for £13million-rated Mitrovic over the next 24 hours.

The 20-year-old’s family visited St James’s Park last week, and negotiations have continued with Anderlecht, his club, this week.

So far this summer, the only signing has been midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who joined from PSV Eindhoven in a £14.5million deal.

Wijnaldum – who flew out to the USA this week to join his new team-mates – could make his debut against Sacramento Republic in California in the early horus of tomorrow morning (4am kick-off BST).

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren put his players through their paces at California State University, Sacramento, yesterday after the squad observed a minute’s silence for John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who tragically lost their lives travelling to watch the club in New Zealand last summer.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

And McClaren and the club’s players and staff paid their respects to Alder and Sweeney.

The players will also wear black armbands against Sacramento.

Club ambassador Bob Moncur yesterday laid two wreaths in the Alder Sweeney Memorial Garden at St James’s Park.

Meanwhile, captain Fabricio Coloccini – who has been struggling with an Achilles problem – took part in full training yesterday in front of dozens of United fans.

And the defender could make his seasonal debut against Sacramento in front of a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at the United Soccer League side’s Bonney Field home.

If Coloccini plays, he will lead the team.

Midfielder Jack Colback skippered Newcastle against Club Atlas and Gateshead in his absence.