Newcastle in Joelinton talks as Chelsea's Poch stance revealed - Column

By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

28th Sep, 2023 | 6:50am

Pete O'Rourke column: Newcastle open Joelinton talks, Chelsea's new Pochettino stance revealed, Hickey in 'huge' Liverpool move?

Welcome to the latest edition of my biweekly column – bringing you exclusive transfer and contract news, as well as news from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and beyond.

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The Magpies want to tie down some of their best players to new deals to secure their futures at St James’ Park.

Callum Wilson has signed a new deal recently and Bruno Guimaraes is on the verge of agreeing a renewal to his deal.

Eddie Howe wants to keep hold of the spine of his squad as he looks to build on the successes of last season.

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As such, Sean Longstaff and Joelinton are now in talks over new deals – as they are currently under contract until June 2025.

Newcastle are ready to hand the duo long-term new deals and agreements would be another welcome boost for the club.

Howe has been vocal about his squad struggling with the demands of Champions League football and they will now look into the viability of making signings in the January transfer window.

There will be extra demands placed on the squad if they progress to the competition’s knockout stages or drop down into the Europa League.

Departures in January for some of the club’s fringe players may have to come first in order to increase the budget.

Centre-back is a key area Howe wants to reinforce, while I’m told a young striker to act as an understudy for Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson is also wanted by Newcastle.



I’m told there is no panic over Mauricio Pochettino‘s position at Stamford Bridge just yet.

Results are not good enough at present and that fact has been accepted by everyone involved at Chelsea.

Scoring goals has been a real problem so far this season – with Christopher Nkunku’s injury seen as a crippling blow by the Blues’ coaching staff.

But the project is in place at Chelsea after heavy spending, and the club’s owners still see Pochettino as the man capable of restoring them to the top of the table.

I’m told he is not under any real pressure just yet – but results will dictate how long that can last.

Pochettino has the backing of the owners despite co-owner Behdad Eghbali entering the dressing room after the loss against Aston Villa.

Sources say the owners have learned from the knee-jerk sackings of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter and will not make a similar decision with the current boss.



Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal have all been linked with a move for Bees defender Aaron Hickey in recent days.

However, I’m told Brentford have no plans to let the full-back go.

They have lost Rico Henry to a potentially season-long knee injury – and Hickey filled in for the Englishman at left-back in their most recent game.

The Scotland international can play on both sides and has been in good form for club and country in the 2023-24 campaign.

I’m told he is happy at Brentford and doesn’t want to disrupt the flow of first-team football with the European Championships in Germany just months away.

Sources say it would take a huge offer to tempt the Bees into letting him go.

Henry’s injury was a huge blow for Thomas Frank’s side, who have had a tough start to the 2022-23 campaign.

They have contingency plans in place at Brentford – with no other natural left-sided defender in the ranks at present.

Hickey can fill in for now, but they are scouring the market for a new option.

If a left-back is available for the right price, they will pursue a move – having built a reputation for being one of the smartest clubs in the transfer market.



Unai Emery has confirmed talks over a new deal for Ollie Watkins are ongoing – and the club are keen to give him a bumper new deal.

Watkins – who got off the mark in the Premier League this season against Chelsea on Sunday (24 September) is happy at Aston Villa, where he is the undisputed number-one striker.

I’m told there is a confidence from all sides that a new contract will be agreed in the coming weeks and months.

Villa have recently rewarded Ezri Konsa with a bumper long-term new deal and are keen to do the same with Watkins.

Clubs are monitoring Watkins’ situation, but sources say the Midlands giants are confident of keeping him.