New bid for Watford star, Chelsea duo wanted and Bruno to Real Madrid deal ruled out

The Northern Notebook is of‘s weekly look inside the biggest football clubs in the north of England, providing insight, analysis and news on the big issues and transfer deals

Newcastle United will continue to pursue Joao Pedro despite Watford manager Rob Edwards reiterating that they do not want to sell the Brazilian forward.

A second structured offer for the 20-year-old was being discussed by Newcastle on Thursday after an initial bid of £20m was rejected. The club is also interested in Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic, having told Chelsea they want to broker loan moves.

Edwards said the initial offer was well below the Hornets’ valuation and they have privately repeated to Newcastle’s transfer team that they do not want to sell. But the player is understood to be receptive to the move and a second, improved offer is set to be tabled.

The lack of progress so far means Newcastle will take on Manchester City with no further attacking reinforcements, but there is little sense of panic at St James’ Park.

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The club’s hierarchy are only too aware of the need for a striker – as well as other forward options to bolster Eddie Howe’s options. But sources have indicated they will not divert from their “focus-driven” recruitment strategy.

That means only signing players specifically scouted to improve the squad while also boasting sizeable potential to improve under the tutelage of Howe.

A senior source told of the club will end the transfer window in the way they started it by being proactive rather than reactive, and insisted: “We will not overpay for targets.” The £44.5m paid by Nottingham Forest for Morgan Gibbs-White illustrates the way the market is moving and hints at the difficulty of not being sucked into bidding wars.

The club will also not entertain offers for Bruno Guimaraes, who has been linked with Real Madrid in the Spanish media. He was being touted as a replacement for Casemiro – who is being targeted by Manchester United – but Newcastle won’t sell him in this transfer window.

The link is no surprise and of understands that Real are not the only European giant looking at the Brazil international, who has made a stellar start to life in the Premier League. But Newcastle are looking to build a team around him and have told the player that their ambition lies with qualifying for the Champions League.

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Meanwhile, Newcastle this week advertised for a new goalkeeper coach, with former Burnley ‘keeper coach Billy Mercer a possible option for the club.

He worked with Nick Pope and Tom Heaton at Turf Moor and is well thought of in football. He left Burnley alongside Sean Dyche last season but was credited with big improvements in the Clarets’ goalkeeping department.

Blackburn line up Brereton Diaz replacements

Blackburn Rovers may have suffered a reverse at Reading in midweek to dent their early season momentum, but they are making impressive moves off-the-field under new director of football Gregg Broughton.

Broughton joined the club from Norweigan side Bodo/Glimt in the summer with a wide-ranging role to drive the club’s football strategy and the early word from industry insiders has been positive.

The club is in the market for two new scouting roles – a head of data scouting and a head of European scouting – as they completely revamp their recruitment model. Broughton said both roles are key in “creating excellence in player trading” in the future at Ewood Park.

Blackburn appointed manager Jon Dahl Tomasson in the summer in a bold move – the Dane departed Malmo in December after back-to-back titles in Sweden. And he has wasted no time in transforming the culture at Ewood Park, changing training schedules and focusing on fitness and high intensity work.

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Until their midweek loss, they had enjoyed the perfect start to life in the Championship.

The club is lining up possible replacements for Ben Brereton Diaz, with the striker almost certain to leave before the September 1 transfer deadline. Bournemouth and Nice are leading the chase for the Chile international, but Everton also have him on a long list of forward targets, and he was scouted by Newcastle last season.

But Blackburn would insist on a minimum of £15m for the striker, having rejected an initial offer of around £8.5m from Nice.

Cod Army line up Championship winger

Fleetwood Town are pushing to sign Huddersfield Town’s highly-rated winger Danny Grant, of understands.

Grant has become a cause celebre for fans of the struggling Terriers, who have lost three of their opening four fixtures under new head coach Danny Schofield. He was signed from Bohemians three years ago and is now fully recovered after suffering injury and Covid setbacks.

But despite Huddersfield finding life after Carlos Corberan difficult, the B team forward is yet to get a look in. A loan to get more first team football is now a distinct possibility, with League One side Fleetwood at the head of a queue of interested teams.

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