NEWCASTLE United could try to pip Liverpool to the signing of Reading defender Alex Pearce, writes ROSS GREGORY.
The Magpies are weighing up a last-gasp bid for the centre-half, who is out of contract this summer.
Republic of Ireland international Pearce has been linked with a move to Anfield for almost a year, having been made captain of Reading when Kop chief Brendan Rodgers was manager.
And with Jamie Carragher having retired, and doubts surrounding the future of fellow Reds centre-halves Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, Rodgers is keen to bolster his defensive ranks.
Liverpool are thought to be close to tying up the signing of Pearce, but Newcastle are also keeping an eye on the player’s situation as doubts remain over captain Fabricio Coloccini’s future.
Pearce, 24, has turned down a new contract at Reading and is available on a free transfer.
With Newcastle boss Alan Pardew keen to bring more height and aerial ability to his side, particularly at set-pieces, Pearce fits the bill. The 6ft 2in stopper scored on his Ireland debut and notched five goals in Reading’s Championship-winning season.
Newcastle have also been linked again with a £4m move for West Ham defender James Tomkins, who Pardew knows well from his time in charge at Upton Park.