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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Magpies close to Argentinian deal
Robson is close to signing Bassedas
Robson is close to signing Bassedas
Newcastle United boss Bobby Robson is closing in on his first summer signing - Argentinian midfielder Christian Bassedas for 3m.

United have refused to confirm Bassedas is due on Tyneside for a medical before completing a move to the Premiership.

But it is understood that the negotiations are at an advanced stage.

Robson spent most of the last week in the Caribbean with his squad on an end-of-season tour.

While he flew to Paris for Wednesday night's European Cup Final, club officials met with the Velez Sarsfield player's representatives in Tobago.

The Newcastle boss has been tracking the Argentinian international for several months, having already pulled out of a swoop in February when the clubs could not agree a fee.
Solano is a great United asset
Solano is a great United asset

But he has made no secret of the fact that he intends to bring in new blood during the close-season to help add fresh impetus to the recovery he has inspired at St James's Park.

With cash limited, potential bargains in South America are an attractive proposition.

Robson inherited Peruvian midfielder Nolberto Solano when he replaced Ruud Gullit last September, and while the manager is unhappy with the amount of games he misses because of international commitments, Solano played an important role in United's climb up the Premiership table last season.

Creative performer

The Peruvian has been linked with moves to Real Madrid and Manchester United in recent months, and although Robson could be tempted by a lucrative offer which would increase his spending power, he is certainly in no particular rush to sell one of his more creative performers.

The United boss has already dipped into the South American market in his short time at the helm, investing 2million in the potential of 19-year-old Paraguyan midfielder Diego Gavilan.

While he admires the South American talent, he recognises the drawbacks in importing players who could be missing for long periods.

There's always talent to be had in the lower leagues of English football, there always has been

Bobby Robson

So Robson is also interested in bargain buys to be had from the Nationwide League.

He said: "People always talk about looking abroad for talent all the time.

"We have been, but remember there's always talent to be had in the lower leagues of English football, there always has been.

"Don't ever under-estimate whatever is underneath you. We have a big football industry here, four leagues where clubs are always producing talent, so we should never forget about the first, second and third divisions."

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