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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 13 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 23, 2006

Roeder to keep tracks on Dutch star Kuyt

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder will monitor the World Cup form of Holland striker Dirk Kuyt as he looks for a replacement for Alan Shearer.

The Magpies have been following the 25-year-old's progress for some time and the Feyenoord marksman's admission that he would love the chance to play for the club will not have done his chances of a summer move to Tyneside any harm.

Roeder and chairman Freddy Shepherd are also keeping an eye on the developing situation surrounding Kuyt's international colleague and Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy, while they have in the past considered Middlesbrough duo Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - out of contract this summer - and Mark Viduka.

Tottenham's Jermain Defoe - who worked with the new Magpies' boss at West Ham - and Charlton's Darren Bent have also been the subject of speculation.

Roeder insists he has a series of potential targets in his sights, but admits Kuyt, who has scored 96 league goals for his club, is one of them.

'He is certainly one of several players we are looking at and I am looking forward to seeing him in Germany,' he said.

'He's a player I like and I have found it interesting what he has had to say over the last few days.

'It doesn't really surprise me that he said he wanted to come here, though. Any player with the sort of quality he has would surely want to join a club like Newcastle.

'The opportunity to play in the Premiership in front of crowds of 52,000 is a big attraction.'

Replacing Shearer will undoubtedly be Newcastle's most important - and most difficult - job this summer.

The 35-year-old scored 206 goals for the club over 10 years and even with Michael Owen still on board, the next man to wear the number nine shirt at St James' Park has a hard act to follow.

'It's a tradition, there's an expectation with our supporters that the number nine is worn by a striker who scores lots and lots of goals, someone they can attach themselves to,' said Roeder.

'That's what they have done with Alan. All of our supporters genuinely believe they can touch Alan, that they, if you want, own a part of him, especially because he's a Geordie.

'I'm sure we will find a striker who is happy enough, confident enough and likes the pressure enough, to wear the number nine because it is a special shirt here at Newcastle.

'It's very important that when we find that striker, that he's the right striker.

'He won't be another Alan Shearer because you can't find another Alan Shearer.

'But we have to find a player who can score enough goals. They have to be approaching an average of 20 goals a season in the Premiership.

'They are not easy to find, but nothing is impossible. There is one out there and we must identify that striker who is happy, who wants to wear the number nine.

'That player will know the pressure that goes with that, and he's got to be able to carry that off.'

Roeder will have to trim his existing squad before he can buy - the retained list is due to be published later this week - but Shepherd has hinted that there will be funds available.

'I don't think any Newcastle manager has ever said we starved him of money - perhaps we have given them too much money in the past,' he said.

'I don't think we could be accused of holding funds back on any manager.'