Sunderland bid for Newcastle target
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley is facing a battle to make a summer transfer breakthrough after neighbours Sunderland entered the race to capture one of Steve McClaren's top targets.
Press Association Sport understands the Black Cats have made an offer of in excess of £11million for PSV Eindhoven's highly-rated midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, a man identified by the Magpies' new head coach as a key acquisition following his appointment earlier this month.
Sunderland counterpart Dick Advocaat himself is understood to have made contact with the Dutch club to register his interest in the 24-year-old Holland international, who scored 14 Eredivisie goals last season as PSV cruised to the title.
In the process, he has firmly thrown down the gauntlet to Newcastle and Charnley, who has been charged with the task of doing the deals by owner Mike Ashley after identifying targets in a series of meetings with McClaren and chief scout Graham Carr.
It has proved a difficult few weeks for the man in day-to-day charge at St James' Park, but having finally landed the head coach he initially wanted to replace Alan Pardew in January, he now faces the challenge of providing him with both the staff and the signings he needs to ensure there is no repeat of last season's desperate fight for Barclays Premier League survival.
Fans moved to the point of open revolt by a dreadful conclusion to the last campaign are already growing impatient at the apparent lack of activity - although wheels are very much in motion behind the scenes - on both the coaching and transfer fronts.
McClaren too is desperate for things to start moving in earnest as he attempts to put in place his backroom team before his players, hopefully including several new faces, return for pre-season training next month.
Paul Simpson, who worked under the former England boss at Derby, remains a target, while former Valencia assistant Ian Cathro is also interesting the Tyneside club.
On the playing front, the capture of QPR striker Charlie Austin continues to represent the focus of Newcastle's recruitment drive after Ashley indicated significant investment would be made this summer, but progress to date has been painfully slow.
Sunderland's interest in Wijnaldum may prove a distraction, but both Charnley and McClaren will hope to land a decisive blow this week to start the ball rolling during what will be a crucial summer for the club.