Uncertain times for Newcastle players

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Football News

The continuing uncertainty off the pitch at Newcastle is having a knock-on effect on it as the players await developments.

Prospective buyers are still studying the club's books with owner Mike Ashley hopeful of receiving the £100million offer he is seeking within weeks.

But as that process rumbles on, the Magpies remains managerless and Alan Shearer waits for a definitive answer on whether or not he will be the man to guide the club into a Coca-Cola Championship promotion bid.

With the players due back for pre-season training on July 1, the chances of coach Chris Hughton once again being asked to take the reins temporarily for what would be his third spell in charge grow by the day.

However, as the turmoil behind the scenes remains unresolved, key football issues are yet to be addressed and that could yet prove hugely damaging.

The Magpies are still saddled with the vast majority of their high earners - Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Claudio Cacapa will be free agents at the end of the month, but their departures will shave only around £12million off an annual £74million wage bill which needs to be reduced far more drastically.

But in addition, men who have indicated their willingness to stay and work under Shearer are starting to consider their own futures.

It is understood defenders Steven Taylor and Habib Beye, two of the club's better performers last season, have expressed misgivings about the current situation, and that is likely to alert suitors.

Taylor, 23, has been linked with a series of clubs in the recent past, but most recently, with West Ham, while 31-year-old Senegal international Beye is reportedly a target for Stoke.

With Frenchman Sebastien Bassong having indicated last week that his representatives are in talks with two other English clubs, Newcastle are in danger of losing several of the few players they are desperate to keep, and that will do little to encourage disgruntled fans that it is worth renewing their season tickets.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Stoke City
Steven Taylor
Habib Beye
Michael Owen
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer
Claudio Cacapa
Mark Viduka
Sebastien Bassong

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