SUNDERLAND midfielder Jack Colback has emerged as a potential transfer target for Newcastle United.
Home-grown Academy product Colback will be out of contract and available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Sunderland are keen to keep the long-serving Tynesider on Wearside.
Head coach Gus Poyet insisted in February that contract talks, complicated by the relegation-threatened Black Cats’ plight, were ongoing with the 24-year-old.
However, a deal has not been reached, and Colback, surprisingly, has been an unused substitute for the last two games, despite his impressive display in last month’s Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City at Wembley.
Colback was outstanding in Sunderland’s two derby wins over Newcastle this season, scoring the third goal in February’s 3-0 success at St James’s Park.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew – who lost Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in January – is looking to strengthen his midfield options in the summer.
And a move for the versatile Colback would allow the Magpies’ transfer “kitty” to be spent elsewhere.
Pardew’s priority is to sign two strikers and an attacking midfielder.