The ‘on-off’ Newcastle United transfer Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi were determined to push through

Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi had a message for Matt Targett when she embraced him after the final home game of last season.
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Newcastle United had just beaten Arsenal 2-0, and Targett – who had joined on loan from Aston Villa when the club was in the Premier League’s relegation zone – had played his part.

The club’s co-owners spoke to Targett on the pitch after the final whistle.

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“They just said ‘thanks for everything – hopefully we can sort a deal out’. They’ve been super supportive of me, the team, the manager. The club’s in great hands, for sure.”

A week later, Eddie Howe told the 26-year-old that he wanted to keep him at the club, which had agreed a £15million deal, less his loan fee, to make the move permanent.

The deal, from both sides, looked like a formality.

But, at one stage, it didn’t look like Targett would be back at St James’s Park.

Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley.Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley.
Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley.

Asked if there was ever a doubt that he would return to Newcastle, the left-back said: “Yeah, at one point there was. It was on, it was off, it was on. Eventually, it got over the line, so really happy to be back.”

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Target, for his part, was sold on a permanent move to United after the final game of the campaign, a 2-1 win over Burnley.

“As soon as I finished the season I just wanted to come back straight away,” said Targett, who started his career at Southampton.

Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley embraces on-loan defender Matt Targett in May.Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley embraces on-loan defender Matt Targett in May.
Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley embraces on-loan defender Matt Targett in May.

“I enjoyed my four, five months. Really enjoyed my football, enjoyed the city, enjoyed the fans, enjoyed working under the manager. Yeah, for me, it was a no-brainer to want to come back.”

Target’s move was confirmed in early June after several weeks of speculation about his future.

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“Straight after the season, I just went on holiday for a week,” said Targett.

“Then, when I got back, I rang my agent. He said it was on, then it was off. Then went on another holiday, got back, and then they just said ‘yeah, it’s on’.

Newcastle United's Matt Targett.Newcastle United's Matt Targett.
Newcastle United's Matt Targett.

“When I landed, I literally came straight to Newcastle, done my medical – and it was all good.”

Eastleigh-born Targett – who grew up on the South Coast – quickly settled in the North East after joining on loan after Villa signed Lucas Digne from Everton.

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“I really enjoyed my football,” said Targett. “Yeah, I like the city. I like what it’s got to offer. It was a no-brainer.”

Newcastle, taken over late last year by an ambitious consortium led by Staveley, went on to sign Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak in the summer transfer window.

Asked if he felt he was involved in something special at St James’s Park, Target said: “Yeah, for sure, in terms of where the owners want to take the club.

“I believe it’s the start of something which is going to be really, really big. It’ll be nice to look back on my career, and say ‘I’ve played for Newcastle United’.”