Date: 11th January 2009 at 12:52pm
Written by:

In a bizarre turn of events, Newcastle United have made a U-turn on their resilient stance on Shay Given by stipulating that the highly-rated keeper will only leave St. James’ Park, if City midfielder Michael Johnson is allowed to join the Magpies, says The Sunday Sun.

Johnson has been out injured for much of the season, but he is set to return by the end of the month alerting potential suitors of his availability.

First team chances are limited in the City team at the moment, with Stephen Ireland blossoming in the England U21 International’s absence, and so, a move to the North-East may appeal to the highly-rated youngster.

The deal is said to involve £4 million plus Johnson, or Johnson and City defender Nedum Onuoha for a straight swap.

Newcastle rates Given at £12m, and so, the deal looks to be beneficial for both parties if it indeed materialises.

Johnson signed a five year contract in September 2008 which will keep him at City until 2013. But Stephen Ireland’s blistering form, and his own injury woes has now left him considering his options. Magpies gaffer Joe Kinnear is desperate to add creativity to his midfield, and Johnson is said to be one of the midfielders he sees Danny Guthrie building a solid long-term partnership with.