NEWCASTLE United have identified the players that can propel Alan Pardew’s side back up the Premier League next season – if the club stays up.
Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann figures on Newcastle’s transfer shortlist.
The Tynesiders are monitoring Weimann’s situation at Villa Park, where talks on a new deal for the Austria international have stalled.
Weimann – who has scored 11 goals for Paul Lambert’s struggling team – has just one more year left on his contract.
And Newcastle are among the clubs ready to move for Wiemann, who has been regularly watched by club scouts this season.
Saturday’s opponents Liverpool are reportedly keen on Wiemann, along with Borussia Dortmund and Norwich City.
If Villa can’t agree a new long-term deal with Weimann, the club will be forced to cash in on him in the summer transfer window.
Lambert will hope that Wiemann can be persuaded to stay should the club secure its Premier League status.
Fourth-bottom Villa are three points behind Newcastle, who are a win short of the traditional 40-point benchmark for top-flight safety.
Newcastle’s own disappointing domestic season has underlined the need for reinforcements, and a striker is a priority for Pardew, who lost leading scorer Demba Ba to Chelsea in January.
There will also be outgoings. There remains a question mark over the future of captain Fabricio Coloccini, the lynchpin of Pardew’s defence. Coloccini, close to a comeback from a back injury, will have talks over his future at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old told the club he wanted to return to his native Argentina in January because of “personal matters”.
Should Coloccini leave, finding his replacement will be United’s biggest challenge. However, Newcastle will not let Coloccini – wanted by Argentinian club San Lorenzo – walk out of the door for nothing.
There will also be departures, with right-back Danny Simpson set to leave when his contract expires. Goalkeeper Steve Harper’s 20-year-old association with Newcastle will also end.
H Norwich defender Leon Barnett has been recalled from his loan spell at Championship winners Cardiff. Barnett was set to stay in Wales until the end of the campaign but will now bolster Hughton’s rearguard following a groin injury to ex-Sunderland centre-half Michael Turner.