Newcastle United are ready to close in on Anita

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NEWCASTLE United will step up their chase for Ajax ace Vurnon Anita this week, writes ROSS GREGORY.

The Magpies have been monitoring Anita for a number of months, and have finally made a move for the versatile player.

Talks are just at a preliminary stage, however, with representatives of the Dutch international weighing up the £7m-rated player’s options.

The 23-year-old, who can play as a defensive midfielder and as a full-back, has enjoyed back-to-back Eredivisie titles with Ajax.

Anita is one of a number of Dutch players scouted by Graham Carr, and is seen as someone who can fill the problem left-back spot as well as providing cover in the centre of midfield should Cheik Tiote move on this summer.

Anita’s representative, Harry Lulofs, said: “Ajax are very satisfied with him and want to keep him, but Newcastle have been watching him for a long time and really want to sign him.

“This is the first offer Ajax have received for Vurnon and we’ll soon see how they react.

“The only other Premier League club to get in touch was Norwich. Paul Lambert called me to ask about him.

“Now he has moved to Aston Villa, so maybe they will be in touch. I don’t know.”

Anita has three caps with Holland, but missed out on Euro 2012 when coach Bert van Marwijk cut his provisional 27-man squad down to 23.

Newcastle will still monitor the Euros closely, with chief scout Carr despatched to Poland and Ukraine to check on key transfer targets, such as Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who is expected to line up for France against England tonight.

Magpie boss Alan Pardew said: “Just about every Premier League club will have scouts in Poland and Ukraine.

“From Newcastle’s perspective, there are obviously players we know very well; there is one in particular I am keen to look at.

“The worry is that if they do too well, the agents and the player are suddenly in a stronger position and the cost goes up. So as a manager you’re hoping they do OK but not too well.

“Our chief scout, Graham Carr, who has done a great job, will be out there and I am delighted that the club rewarded him at the end of last week with a long contract.”