Gabriel Obertan Closes In On Newcastle United Move

Newcastle United were poised to augment their growing French contingent on Monday night with Gabriel Obertan close to completing a £3m move from Manchester United.

Gabriel Obertan closes in on move to Newcastle United That positive news was tempered by Joey Barton once again causing controversy through his use of Twitter.

The 22-year-old Obertan – who is scheduled to sign a five-year contract on Tyneside – found first-team opportunities restricted at Old Trafford after arriving from Bordeaux. Alan Pardew is delighted by the impending acquisition of a player most commonly deployed on the wing but also capable of operating in central midfield or as a secondary striker.

"I wanted more pace in the team and Obertan will bring us pace," said Newcastle's manager. "I felt that away from home last season we lacked the speed to hurt sides on the break – Obertan will offer that.

"He hasn't had many opportunities at United but we'll give him more chances and he'll grow in strength and confidence."

Pardew is hoping Cheick Tioté, his key midfield enforcer, will return to England on Wednesday in time to prepare for Saturday's Premier League game at home to Arsenal.

Tioté is in Ghana waiting for a new UK visa. The Ivorian has been in limbo in Accra – where the Ivory Coast's British embassy has been relocated in the wake of the political turmoil in that country – for almost two weeks and Newcastle have sent Derek Wright, a physiotherapist, to west Africa to help keep him fit. "It's not ideal," said Pardew.

Joey Barton was bullish about his chances of facing Arsenal after being allowed to train with the first-team squad on Monday. The Newcastle midfielder was handed a free transfer last week in the wake of his criticism of the club on Twitter, but appeared to be offered a reprieve by Pardew before a scheduled meeting with boardroom officials to discuss a potential peace deal. However, the truce may have been placed in jeopardy when he subsequently tweeted: "Am off to gym. Looking forward to Arsenal Sat, I'll be playing."

This contravenes new club rules prohibiting leaks about team selection and is understood to have left Derek Llambias, the managing director, unimpressed. St James' Park sources were also disconcerted by Barton's engagement in heated Twitter exchanges with journalists.

Powered by article was written by Louise Taylor, for on Monday 8th August 2011 21.22 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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