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Friday 9 December 2016

Judge on verge of Newcastle move

Alan Judge
Alan Judge

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez is poised for a second summer move for an Ireland international as he's keen to land Alan Judge.

Judge, who suffered a leg injury last season which denied him the chance of making Ireland's Euro 2016 squad, will be out of action for at least another three months but Magpies manager Benitez is keen on Judge and is eager to do a deal now, even though the Dubliner is still working his way back from that injury.

Former Blackburn man Judge travelled to Newcastle for a medical in the last 24 hours and if United's medical staff are happy to give the all-clear, Newcastle will hope to seal a deal with Brentford.

Judge commented last March, when he came in for his Ireland debut, that he expected to leave the Bees over the summer as he was heading into the last year of his contract and the club had made no approach on a new deal.

"I have another year left but I think most likely I will be moving in the summer, the contract hasn't been renegotiated and they haven't come to me, so it looks like I will be moving in the summer," he said at the time but the injury, sustained in a league game against Ipswich, ended that hope and also his Euro 2016 ambitions.

Newcastle have already spent money this season on Ireland international Ciarán Clark but more of Clark's compatriots could be on the move, with James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady both linked with an August exit from Everton.

Of the current or recent senior squads, only Clark (to Newcastle), David Forde (Millwall to Portsmouth, on loan), Anthony Stokes (Celtic to Blackburn), Callum O'Dowda (Oxford to Bristol City) and Stephen Henderson (Charlton to Nottingham Forest) have secured transfers over the summer, with ex-internationals like Paul Green, Simon Cox, Conor Sammon and Kevin Foley also on the move.

But O'Neill will be keeping a close eye on movements in and out of Everton before the transfer window closes as McCarthy and McGeady could both be on the way out, though a move away from Derby County for Jeff Hendrick now appears to be off the agenda.

McCarthy was substituted just 38 minutes into last week's game by boss Ronald Koeman, who confirmed later that the change was tactical and not injury-related. New signing Idrissa Gueye has moved ahead of McCarthy in the midfield pecking order and while the Toffees are not desperate to sell the former Wigan man, McCarthy would be concerned about impact that a lack of game time would have on his international career.

McGeady is so far down the ladder at Goodison Park that he was not even given a squad number for the new season by boss Koeman and Everton have made it known that McGeady is available for transfer.

Clubs have made inquiries about a loan deal but McGeady's signifcant wage demands would make it difficult for Championship clubs to agree a loan deal, as Sheffield Wednesday did last season in a move which ended unhappily.

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