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McClaren hoping for transfer deals

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren is keeping his fingers crossed for a transfer breakthrough before he and his players head for the United States at the weekend.

Managing director Lee Charnley has endured a frustrating summer to date with the Magpies having failed to land a single target despite making a concerted effort to do so.

Reports over the weekend suggested that the club were in advanced talks with PSV Eindhoven over Holland international midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, a man they have been trailing for some time.

However, Press Association Sport understands that while talks have taken place and are ongoing, they have not progressed to the point where a deal is anywhere near imminent.

Indeed, that remains the case with all of the club's top targets with the likes of QPR striker Charlie Austin, Wolfsburg's Bas Dost and Aleksandar Mitrovic of Anderlecht remaining tantalisingly out of their grasp.

That is not the situation McClaren had envisaged when he arrived at St James' Park last month looking to play his part in a major overhaul of the squad following owner Mike Ashley's pledge to address the deficiencies which very nearly led to disaster last season.

The remaining members of the playing staff the former England boss inherited were due back for pre-season training on Monday after the bulk returned last Wednesday, and in an ideal world, there would have been several new faces on board by now.

But negotiations have proved less than smooth, with Newcastle now targeting proven quality rather than the potential they have sought in recent years, meaning higher fees and greater competition.

Charnley, who was handed the responsibility of recruiting McClaren, has also been delegated the task of bringing in new players and the clock is ticking.

McClaren will send out his team for the first time at Gateshead on Friday evening before they head across the Atlantic for friendlies against club Atlas, Sacramento Republic and Portland Timbers.

The presence of a major signing on that plane would go a long way towards raising spirits, although there will have to be a significant change in stance from at least one of the parties involved for that to become a reality.

Meanwhile, sources on Tyneside have reacted to speculation that Liverpool will target France midfielder Moussa Sissoko this summer by insisting that no senior players will be leaving St James' this summer until the new signings are in place, if at all.

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