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Sou keen on Spanish duo


Nov 23 2005


By Alan Oliver, The Evening Chronicle



Toon targets Joaquin (left) & Ruben Baraja


Newcastle United are keeping tabs on two Spanish midfielders, Real Betis's Joaquin and Ruben Baraja of Valencia.


Acting chief scout David Mills will be at Anfield tonight to run the rule over Joaquin as Real Betis go in against Liverpool in the Champions League.


I understand that Graeme Souness has already spoken to his Spanish international Albert Luque about his fellow countryman and liked what he heard.


Indeed, Luque was heard discussing the merits of Joaquin and Baraja with fellow Spaniard Asier del Horno after United's game with Chelsea on Saturday.



Mills will provide a report on Joaquin and the manager himself is likely to watch the proceedings from Anfield on television.


And if Souness wants to know more about Baraja, he can always ask his former United players Patrick Kluivert and Hugo Viana, who are playing alongside the 30-year-old former Atletico Madrid midfielder at Valencia.


Baraja was in the Valencia side which won the Spanish title under Rafael Benitez, who is interested in taking him to Liverpool.


The 24-year-old Joaquin has 33 caps and is regarded as one of the best players in Spain, but despite this, Real Betis are languishing second bottom in La Liga.


After handing over £50m to Souness in the past 12 months, chairman Freddy Shepherd will be looking to his manager to wheel and deal in the transfer market in January.


That's why talk of United signing strikers Mark Viduka and Nicolas Anelka in January could not be wider of the mark, with the fees which Middlesbrough and Fenerbahce will want for the two strikers prohibitive.


While United are currently well off in midfield, Souness said last week that he was of the opinion that Lee Bowyer was eventually looking to return south.


And United will not be completely happy about Kieron Dyer until the little midfielder has half a dozen games under his belt this season.


In the meantime, all Souness can do is to build up a dossier on players he would like to sign if he gets the nod from the board and that is what he is doing.

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