Souness close to £5m deal for Luis

By COLIN YOUNG, Daily Mail

Last updated at 09:09 03 August 2005

Newcastle hope to land Luis Boa Morte by the weekend after making an improved £5million bid for the Portugal international.

Fulham still want £6m for the former Arsenal striker, who signed an improved contract in January just days after Newcastle manager Graeme Souness made his first move.

But chairman Freddy Shepherd is preparing to enter the final stages of negotiations as Souness insists on pursuing Boa Morte and Fenerbahce striker Nicolas Anelka.

Souness and Shepherd are also monitoring Michael Owen's on-going situation at Real Madrid and would be prepared to offer the England international a loan deal at St James' Park if he fails to secure a move to Manchester United.

Souness, who has left the talks to Shepherd, said: "My target for the season is to do really well and if you ask me what it is at the end of the transfer window, I'll give you a better answer.

"If we were to get the targets I'm going for, we'll have a very good season. If we get the names that are on the list I gave the chairman a few months ago I'd be confident.

"Alan Shearer's goals have consistently taken this club to the top half of the table. The biggest job we'll have is replacing his goals. The players I want will come somewhere near his benchmark.

"I see us linked with Michael Owen and that excites me. Mark Viduka, Anelka, Owen are all top strikers. That's not my opinion, facts speak for themselves. They are 20 goals-a-season strikers and the type of player we should be attracting.

"We are not far away from being a very good team and a very good squad."

Tonight, Souness will give debuts to midfield pair Emre and Scott Parker as his side look to overcome a 2-1 deficit from last week's InterToto Cup semi-final, first leg, with Deportivo La Coruna.

England pair Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas are still short of match fitness and will not be considered, but Souness hopes Dyer can finally overcome his hamstring problems with a new fitness regime. "He's doing individual exercises and will have to do that all season," said Souness.

New signing Craig Moore is hoping to re-establish his partnership with former Rangers team-mate Jean-Alain Boumsong after arriving on a free transfer from Borussia Moechengladbach.

He said: 'It's going to be hard work and I don't expect to walk into the side but obviously we played together for nearly four months. Jean-Alain has had a massive impact down here and we've got the benefit of knowing each other.

'It was difficult in Germany, my family wasn't there and it wasn't my scene to be honest, so I was delighted to get the chance to come back to the United Kingdom. I know what it's all about here and the Premiership is the place every player wants to be.'

The Australia captain has permission to play in his country's World Cup qualifiers although Souness is hoping he will be able to step down from the potential walkover against the Solomon Islands.

Probable teams:

NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Taylor, Boumsong, Elliott; Bowyer, Emre, Parker, Milner; Chopra, Shearer.

DEP LA CORUNA (4-4-2): Molina; Manuel Pablo, Jorge Andrade, Romero, Capdevila; Munitis, Sergio, Duscher, Luque; Ruben Castro, Tristan.

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