NEWCASTLE United are set to open talks with Bosnian star Anel Hadzic.
The Magpies are looking into a deal to sign the Sturm Graz defensive midfielder, who appeared for his country in the World Cup this month.
But they face competition from Premier League rivals Everton if they decide to pursue Hadzic’s signature.
Sources in Bosnia say the player’s agents have flown to England to try to tie up a deal for the 24-year-old, who has just 12 months left on his contract at the Austrian side.
The player himself admitted he has two offers from England and another from an Italian club, believed to be Genoa, and hopes to resolve his future by the end of next week.
Hadzic said: “I do have a specific offer from a club in the Italian top division and my representatives informed me yesterday that two clubs in England are interested in my services.
“However, I can’t discuss any names. Everything should be clear in the next five or six days.”
Hadzic made 31 appearances for Graz last season, making a late burst for the Bosnia and Herzegovina World Cup squad.
He only made his international debut in March as a second-half substitute against Egypt, before featuring against Ivory Coast in another friendly against Ivory Coast.
However, it was enough to persuade national team boss Safet Susic to take him to the World Cup, and after sitting out the first two games against Argentina and Nigeria, he started the third Group F game against Iran, which Bosnia won 3-1.
Hadzic could be available for as little as £1.5m, and would offer Alan Pardew cover for midfield enforcer Cheik Tiote.
A source in Bosnia said: “He played as a defensive midfielder for the club and country, but can be used in the central role or on the right side, even though he is not fast enough to be considered to be a winger.”
Hadzic started his professional career with Austrian outfit SV Ried, where he spent six years and played 112 games before joining Sturm Graz last summer on a two-year deal.
He made one appearance for Austria’s U21 team, having fled to the country from war-torn Yugoslavia, but opted to play for the senior Bosnia and Herzegovina side.