Newcastle United ‘battle’ for player with £43m release clause as AC Milan boss makes admission

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All the latest news and transfer rumours surrounding Newcastle United as the Premier League returns.

Newcastle United are back in action on Saturday when they take on Brentford at St James’ Park.

It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Magpies, who have lost three of their first four, though the fixture list has not been particularly kind to Eddie Howe and his men. With the Champions League kicking off next week, Newcastle need to sharpen up quickly, and fans will be expecting to see some defensive improvements, in particular, on Saturday.

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In the meantime, we have rounded up all the latest news and transfer rumours surrounding St James’ Park.

Williams chase

Newcastle are said to be interested in a deal to sign Athletic Club and Spain star Nico Williams.

According to Sport, the Magpies are battling Barcelona for the signing of the winger, who has a £43million release clause in his contract, which expires at the end of the season. Newcastle and Barca are being tipped to make a move in January in an attempt to land a bargain.

Though, it’s worth noting that Athletic Club are cash rich due to their Basque transfer strategy, so they may move to offer Williams - who plays alongside his brother at the club - a huge contract to stay put.

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Pioli speaks

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has been speaking about his selection dilemma ahead of next week’s clash with Newcastle.

“Year after year, we try to improve the individual preparation of each player as we get to know them more,” he said in his press conference ahead of this weekend’s Milan derby.

“A new season is starting now (after the international break), with seven matches in 21 days so I will have to manage the performances of my players well. Inter are the only team to have managed to hold their own against Manchester City, we know we are facing a strong team.

“They haven’t changed their style of play much in these first few matches, they’ll try to put us in difficult positions. We will be taking to the pitch to play good football and do better than them. The performance will give us some indications of what we need to work on, some good, some maybe less so.

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“Kjær is ready to play such an important match, he’s strong and he has a great personality. There is only one Zlatan but the team has grown to working in a certain way, we have players in the dressing room with great personalities and Giroud is one of these. Rafa has grown a lot, he is becoming dominant and determined for the team. And that is what he must try to do on the pitch against Inter as well.

“Pellegrino is a very careful, disciplined defender, he can also play full-back, he needs to grow and over time he will contribute a lot to us. I want to see the AC Milan, I want to see the team follow our principles of play and what we have prepared, I’m sure that they’ll face the match with the right spirit, with enthusiasm and with heart.

“Against Inter but also throughout the entire season. We aren’t scared of anyone. I am convinced about how the team have prepared and want to approach the match, we know how we want to play but we’ll see how the match is played and carried out. I’m not interested in previous derbies, Saturday’s is the one that counts, it’s an opportunity to make the most of and I want my players to think they can win it.”

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