NEWCASTLE United are weighing up a summer move for Queens Park Ranger’s Adel Taarabt.
Manager Alan Pardew was keen to bring Taarabt to St James’s Park in January.
But the club fended off Newcastle’s interest, with the midfielder central to their hopes of returning to the Premier League.
Taarabt has been a revelation for Championship leaders QPR this season.
And should the west London club win promotion, as seems increasingly likely, despite the threat of a points deduction over transfer irregularities surrounding the signing of Alejandro Faurlin, Loftus Road boss Neil Warnock will fight tooth and nail to hang on to the 21-year-old.
The club, which has wealthy backers, will be under no pressure to sell their prize asset.
Manchester United and Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in the former Tottenham Hotspur player, who was made captain this season by Warnock and has scored 15 goals.
However, United, unlike some of the bigger clubs linked with Taarabt, would be able to offer the Morocco international near-guaranteed first-team football.
Pardew, looking to inject pace into his side, told BBC Radio Newcastle listeners he was certain he would be given the £35m banked from the January sale of Andy Carroll to reinvest in his team.
And that financial muscle could see Pardew make a serious offer for Taarabt, who signed from Spurs on a permanent deal at the start of the season for a reported £1m after two loan spells at Loftus Road.
Pardew also revealed he was in talks with “two players who are out of contract (in the summer) who we can talk to”.
The 49-year-old took questions from fans sceptical that the Carroll money would be spent in the summer.
Pardew said: “I understand the frustration with what’s gone on in the past,
“If I was a fan here, would I be jumping up and down about Mike Ashley? Probably not.
“But he doesn’t want to put his investment into this club to come here and lose games and be abused.
“I genuinely feel he wants to say ‘I got it right here’. Hopefully, he’s going to prove that.”