Newcastle will not pay over odds for Jermaine Beckford
Newcastle United have been told that they must meet Leeds United's £2 million asking price for the League One leaders' 20-goal leading scorer having already had a third bid of £1.5m rejected by Leeds chairman Ken Bates. Despite Newcastle's need for a new striker, the Mike Ashley regime is reluctant to pay over the odds for a player whose contract expires at the end of the season and have indicated that the club may try to sign Aston Villa's Marlon Harewood instead of Beckford. Newcastle had hoped to have Beckford in place by now but his winning goal for Leeds in the FA Cup against Manchester United put the move on hold even though the player had already submitted a transfer request before his at Old Trafford heroics. His goal against the Premier League champions prompted speculation that Premier League clubs would seek his services and that drove his price-tag up although Newcastle are determined not to become involved in a bidding war. 'There is no way that they will break the bank for Jermaine Beckford because they are not sure that he will be able to get them goals in the Premier League if they get up,' a reliable source close to the Ashley regime told Telegraph Sport. 'He's is not even proven at Championship level and it's got to be remembered that he will be available in the summer for zilch. 'They are happy to bide their time. They are in no rush and that is why the people at Newcastle want the euphoria over Beckford to die down after his goal against Man U.' The Championship pacesetters' manager, Chris Hughton, whose side face Plymouth in a FA Cup third-round replay on Tyneside on Wednesday, is clearly toeing the party line. When asked about facing top-flight competition for new recruits, Hughton told reporters: 'The most important thing is to identify the players you want and that is all you can do. They are your targets. You work very hard to get your targets and if that is not to be then you move on to the next one. 'It is something we are still working very hard at behind the scenes but what we have consistently said is that it is not about the timing, the most important thing is that we bring in players in the areas that we need to do. With most clubs up until now there hasn't' been too much activity but of course there will be.'
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