However, despite the emergence of reports from France quoting the selling club’s president Louis Nicollin claiming they and the Magpies have struck a deal, Press Association Sport understands there is still work to be done before manager Alan Pardew gets his man. Newcastle have been chasing the 24-year-old France international – currently on holiday following his return from the World Cup finals – since January when they attempted to sign him to replace Yohan Cabaye. Newcastle are edging closer to signing summer target Remy Cabella after holding productive talks with Montpellier. However, there were unable to reach an agreement then and Nicollin has since done little to encourage them in their ongoing pursuit. But it appears that a deal may now be there in principle, although sources on Tyneside on Friday evening were counselling that a decisive breakthrough may take more than 48 hours. The Magpies have opened discussions too with Dutch club Feyenoord over Holland full-back Daryl Janmaat as a potential replacement for Mathieu Debuchy should he complete his proposed move to Arsenal. Press Association
Rahaman, Alves take first Men’s Open winsADAM Alves and Javed Rahaman gave a temperate start to the Men’s Open, as they registered the competition’s first wins when the Digicel Senior National Squash Championships commenced yesterday at the courts of the Georgetown Club, on Camp Street.Men’s veteran Joe Mekdeci easily overthrew Medhi Ramdhani in a slow start, but things picked up as an energetic Allan Downes tried to outmanoeuvre the more skilled Khalil Alli, but came up short. David Fernandes was also in winners’ row after he had a fun time in his match against Guyana Squash Association (GSA) president Robin Low.Alves began his competition against Douglas DeGroot, and DeGroot let him know early on that he meant business. He took the first point in every single game that played out to be a four-game battle.For the first game, the pair rallied and traded points, with DeGroot getting in eight before Alves closed off the game. The second game had another 11-8 margin, but this time in DeGroot’s favour.Alves seized the next two games, both ending with 11-6 margins.It was another four-game match when Rahaman took on Steven Xavier winning 12-10, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9.Mekdeci bettered Ramdhani 11-1, 11-8, 11-5 in a quick match. However, in the second match of the night, Downes almost sent his match against Khalil to a four-set clash.Khalil had the upper hand in skills, but a spirited Downes pushed him hard. Khalil eventually won the match 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, just as things were getting a little more than he could handle.In the lone veterans Men’s Over-50 match Fernandes showed better court coverage in his 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 win over Low.The tournament continued last night with the round of sixteen matches in the Men’s Open, first-round matches in the Women’s Open and more round-robin matches in the veterans categories. The tournament ends on Saturday.