Belfast Telegraph

Harper wants Toon transfer progress

Former Newcastle keeper Steve Harper is keeping his fingers crossed that director of football Joe Kinnear will make a belated breakthrough in the transfer market.

The 38-year-old was back on Tyneside to launch a charity match to mark his 20 years at St James' Park, which came to a close when he joined promoted Hull after his contract with the Magpies expired.

He returned as his former employers continue trying desperately to land their first summer signing, with weeks of activity behind the scenes so far failing to bring tangible reward.

Manager Alan Pardew has repeatedly spoken of his eagerness for Kinnear to land him one of the names on his summer wish list with a loan deal for QPR's Loic Remy currently looking to be the most promising avenue.

Asked about the current situation at the club he served for two decades, Harper said: "Obviously having spent 20 years here, I am a Newcastle fan and the same as everybody else, we keep an eye on it, watch it closely.

"There seem to be some positive noises about players coming in now. The likes of maybe Remy coming on loan would be a very good signing.

"As a fan, you want to see as many options as possible in a black and white shirt. I know that's what the manager wants, and hopefully he will get that."

The Magpies are understood to have stepped up their interest in 26-year-old Remy, who opted to join Rangers rather than Newcastle in January despite the Tyneside club believing they had got their man.

The France international scored six times for the Londoners, but he could not prevent them from slipping out of the Barclays Premier League.

Remy is available as QPR attempt to rein in expenditure, but he is currently on bail after being arrested on suspicion of rape, an allegation he denies.

Newcastle are also hoping to make progress in their pursuit of Aston Villa's Darren Bent, who is wanted by Fulham, after making a strategic withdrawal from negotiations over Lyon frontman Bafetimbi Gomis having had an improved bid rejected.

Harper's comments came as he revealed details of his charity game, which will see a Newcastle squad featuring old boys Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Rob Lee, Andy Cole and Faustino Asprilla go head-to-head with an AC Milan legends team captained by Franco Baresi and including the likes of Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Andriy Shevchenko at St James' on September 11.

All proceeds will go to good causes with the Great North Children's Hospital, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Newcastle United Foundation sharing 85 per cent of the proceeds and the remaining cash being divided between several smaller organisations.

Harper said: "One of the key things is I had my send-off against Arsenal [in the final game of last season]. This is now using my time served here as an opportunity to make as much money as possible for some fantastic local causes."

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