Newcastle United's new transfer priority clear after snub as summer pressure cranked up

The summer transfer window opens in mid-June but Newcastle United are putting in work to ensure they don't fall behind in the market.

There has been a slight bump in the road with the Magpies initially looking nailed on to land Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer after weeks of negotiations with the 26-year-old's representatives. Chelsea have since hijacked that deal with the centre-back now poised to make the short journey across west London instead.

Now, the priority for Newcastle is clear: Make sure the same thing does not happen with fellow free agent Lloyd Kelly. Eddie Howe knows the departing Bournemouth defender well and he has been another top target for the St James' Park hierarchy in recent months.

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Adarabioyo has had more interest in his services than Kelly of late but given the Cherries star was previously linked to both Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa, Newcastle will not be the only suitors in the race.

It is understood a deal for Kelly is close, with no late hijack expected. However, given the late twist with Tosin, Newcastle fans won't be convinced until the player is holding aloft a black and white scarf at St James' Park.

After a busy off-season so far, there is added pressure to land a positive blow at this early stage of the summer after the Adarabioyo disappointment and Dougie Freedman opting to stay at Crystal Palace rather than replacing Dan Ashworth on Tyneside. An early win like this could a long way to setting up an exciting summer.

Elsewhere, Howe is keen to add another member to his goalkeeping department, while additional attacking firepower is desired at the opposite end of the pitch. Securing Kelly on a free transfer will go a long to allowing the north east outfit to spend their summer kitty on other positions.

Speaking during Newcastle's recent trip to Australia, Howe said: "The short-term for next season is we want to improve. There has been a lot of good this season and we don't want to throw that away.

"But we want to build on it. The foundations are there for us, the squad is in a healthy state in terms of quality. As always if we can add bits of quality to it we're in a good place."