WAYNE Routledge is set to return to Newcastle United – after Queens Park Rangers pulled out of a deal for the winger.
The newly-promoted club were expected to sign the 26-year-old on a permanent basis after a successful half-season loan last term.
But QPR manager Neil Warnock has just £12m to equip his squad for the Premier League this summer, and he has been forced to shift his transfer priorities elsewhere.
Warnock has forward Jamie Mackie back from a long-term knee injury, and a move for Routledge has had to be sacrificed.
The much-travelled player – who was signed from QPR in January last year to bolster Newcastle’s promotion push in the Championship – will be back on Tyneside for the start of pre-season training on July 4.
However, Routledge isn’t in manager Alan Pardew’s plans, and the club will listen to other offers for him.
H Steven Taylor is backing Alan Pardew to guide Newcastle back into the upper reaches of the Premier League.
Pardew has already made three summer signings – Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux.
Their early captures has tempered fan unease at the sale of last season’s infuential captain and leading scorer Kevin Nolan to West Ham.
And the club’s manager is closing in on other transfer targets, including Swansea City’s Neil Taylor.
Pardew went into the off-season needing to strengthen his squad in several key areas, not least up front, with Andy Carroll’s January sale to Liverpool having left a gaping hole in United’s attacking options.
And long-serving Taylor, a candidate to replace Nolan as skipper, or Alan Smith as vice-captain, is hopeful that Chris Hughton’s successor can build a team capable of making a significant impression on the league.
“When Alan Pardew came in, it was difficult,” Taylor admitted. “People had taken to Chris because of the job he’d done at the club.
“But we got a new manager, and I think the fans have taken to him now. He’s done a fantastic job, and I’m sure he’ll attract top names to the club.
“For us as players, we’re happy. We’re all playing for him. He’s been great with me, and the lads are all behind him.
“We want to build on what we’ve achieved next season, and hopefully challenge for Europe and the cups over the coming years. That’s what we all want.
“We’re a very good side, and people forget that. We’re a little bit away from playing in Europe, but in time we can get there.”