Is Jan Vertonghen the man for Newcastle United?

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NEWCASTLE United are still keeping tabs on Ajax skipper Jan Vertonghen.

The club is expected to be represented at Old Trafford tonight when he and his team-mates take on Manchester United in a Europa League tie.

Newcastle failed to sign a defender last month, with Championship club Watford rejecting a series of bids for Adrian Mariappa.

And signing a centre-half in the summer transfer window is a priority for manager Alan Pardew.

Pardew insisted at the time the club wouldn’t return for Mariappa, and it seems his attention has now turned elsewhere, with another Holland-based player – FC Twente’s Douglas – also on the club’s shortlist of potential targets.

Sources in Holland suggest highly-rated Vertonghen – who was also linked with Sunderland in the January transfer window – will be watched in the second leg of the Round of 32 tie, in which Ajax trail Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 2-0.

The Magpies – who lost Steven Taylor for the season late last year – are expected to firm up their interest in Vertonghen, who can also play at left-back, and in midfield, at the end of the campaign.

Taylor will be back for pre-season, but his injury – and the time Mike Williamson spent on the sidelines earlier in the season – has exposed a lack of cover in central defence.

Pardew is also looking to inject pace into Newcastle’s back four, and Vertonghen ticks that box.

H Wolves’ caretaker-boss Terry Connor looks certain to be in charge for Saturday’s game at Newcastle. The Midlands club will resume their search today for the sacked Mick McCarthy’s successor after having to write off hopes of securing Alan Curbishley, Brian McDermott or Gus Poyet in the role.

Former Charlton and West Ham boss Curbishley knocked back Wolves’ approach for a second time while McDermott has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract with Reading.

Poyet last night revealed Wolves had approached Brighton. He said: “There was an approach, but it came and went. I didn’t have any decisions to make, anything to think about. I was not involved at all.”

Steve Bruce, meanwhile, was maintaining late yesterday evening that he had not spoken to either Wolves owner Steve Morgan or chief executive Jez Moxey since his initial interview last Friday.

But it is believed that he is still under consideration from the Wolves hierarchy.

The likes of Blackpool’s Ian Holloway, Birmingham’s Chris Hughton and former Sunderland and Ipswich boss Roy Keane have also been linked with Wolves.