North-East latest: Pardew aims for top four; Sunderland miss out on one, wait on another

We bring you the latest news from Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

1) Newcastle close in on Forest duo

Newcastle United are closing in on a deal to sign Nottingham Forest duo Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow, according to reports.

The Forest pair are considered two of the best young players in the Football League and it appears that their talents have not gone un-noticed by the teams from a higher level.

The likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have been linked with making a move for the goalkeeper and the defender in the transfer window so far, but it seems that Newcastle have jumped to the head of the queue and a deal could be closed in the near future.

Alan Pardew has already brought in seven players this season, but he says that he is still aiming to do more business and it appears that he could add his eighth and ninth summer signings in the near future.

“We’ve always maintained that we will watch the window until the last hours,” he said.

“We’ve done some terrific business, and I think it must be exciting for Newcastle fans that we’ve got some terrific, offensive players.

“I feel much more comfortable with the team, and we can play a brand of football which is expected of us.

2) Alan Pardew targets the top four

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is aiming to breach the top four this season, after they have had a successful summer.

The Magpies have already brought in seven players, with more to come, and Pardew is predicting that the squad is far better equipped to make a challenge than they were last season.

“It’s very important for the teams outside of the Champions League money to compete,” he said to Sky Sports.

“But we’re trying to do it and we’ve been trying to do it for three years now in an educated manner.

“Now, we’re going to hope we can be as close as we can.

“Certainly, offensively, we definitely are better. There’s no doubt about that.”

3) Sunderland have one rejected – wait on another

Sunderland have seen a bid to sign Abel Hernandez rejected and they are also waiting a decision from Cristian Rodriguez about his future.

The Black Cats had tried to lure Hernandez into joining them on a season-long-loan deal, but his current club, Palermo, will only allow him to leave on a permanent deal.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light since last week, but the deal appears to be reaching a critical stage now – with the midfielder set to make his mind up this week.

Poyet had insisted that he needed to bring in four players in a week, but that target is starting to look unlikely now, with one transfer off and another hanging in the balance.

4) Gus Poyet keen to ensure new recruits settle quickly

Gus Poyet has said that he needs his side to welcome his planned new signings with open arms when they arrive at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet wants to bring in a considerable amount of new additions before the Premier League season starts and seems confident that he will get the players on his wishlist this summer.

And he says that he needs his squad to make their settling in period on Wearside an easy one if they are to get the best out of them.

“The players have been excellent,” said Poyet.

“They have been working very hard and they have enjoyed their time away because it is where you make the group.

“But we need to be very smart when the new players come in and integrate them very quickly.

“You can’t imagine how important it is for the players to really care for each other out on the pitch.”

5) Aitor Karanka delighted with new recruit

It hasn’t taken too long for new Middlesbrough signing Emilio Nsue to make an impact at the Riverside.

Nsue was brought in from Mallorca last week and appears to have had a positive impression on his new boss already.

“Emilio can bring a lot of things to the team," he said. "He’s a very positive lad. Already you can see he doesn’t want to stay close to the Spanish players. He wants to be in the middle of the changing room because he wants to speak English as soon as possible.

“He can play in several positions - as a right-back, winger on both sides and can also be a striker, but he is strongest as a right winger.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch