Newcastle United are expected to finally complete the signing of Cobblers striker Ivan Toney following a five-week chase for the player.
Toney, who has been tracked by Newcastle since early July, travelled to the north east on Friday and trained with the Magpies’ under-21s team under the watchful eye of former England striker Peter Beardsley.
He then watched from the St James’ Park stands on Saturday as Newcastle’s first team lost a pre-season friendly with German side Borussia Monchengladbach.
The deal has yet to be confirmed, but it is anticipated the the 19-year-old will put pen to paper on a contract as early as Monday.
No fee has been confirmed, with reports suggesting it could range from anywhere between £250,000 and £500,000, and it may well be the case that it will remain undisclosed, as was the case of the sales of Mark Bunn and Bradley Johnson in the past.
Newcastle boss Steve McLaren remained non-committal on Saturday though, saying of Toney: “Northampton have allowed him to train for a couple of days. He’s done that (and) we will assess that.
“He has trained with Peter Beardsley in the Under-21s, now we just have to sit down him and assess what we are going to do.”
The Toney transfer saga has gone on for more than five weeks now, with the player originally being left out of the Town team to play at Sileby Rangers back on July 5.
The official line at that time was that an agreement with Newcastle was close, but the Premier League side have taken their time over finalising any deal, despite plenty of discussions between the two clubs and with the player’s agent.
Toney was also left out of last Saturday’s NFA Maunsell Cup Final at Brackley Town as once again the transfer seemed imminent, but once more nothing happened.
Other clubs from the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship have also lodged their interest in the player, who has scored 13 goals in 60 appearances for the Cobblers, but no official bids have been received.
Toney was set to go trial at another Premier League club last week, but that never came to fruition, and Newcastle have at last seemingly made up their mind to take the player.
The move has been instigated by Newcastle’s chief scout Graham Carr, with the former Cobblers boss and player a regular at Sixfields.
Last week, Town boss Chris Wilder admitted it has been a difficult situation for Toney who saw a £500,000 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers collapse at the last minute last November.
The deal, if it does go through, would be structured and boosted by several add-ons as the player’s career progresses.
Toney is the youngest player to have played for Northampton, making his debut as a 16-year-old in an FA Cup tie at Bradford City in November, 2012.
He was also handed his League debut by Aidy Boothroyd the following season, but it wasn’t until the back end of the 2013/14 campaign that he scored his first goal for the club, netting twice in a crucial 3-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge.
He followed that up with a third goal the following week as the Cobblers beat Oxford United 3-1 on the final day of the season to secure Football League survival.
Last season was Toney’s first full campaign as a professional, and he scored 10 goals in 41 appearances.