Newcastle United close in on Modibo Maiga

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STRIKER Modibo Maiga will undergo a medical today as Newcastle United close in on the capture of the Mali international.

The Sochaux striker is set for a £6m switch to St James’s Park once the transfer window opens after the two clubs agreed on the transfer.

Newcastle had been hoping to tie up a deal for the 25-year-old in August, but couldn’t agree terms with the French side for the Mali international.

It was revealed back in October that the transfer was back on and would be finalised as soon as January’s transfer window opened, and today’s medical in London is the next step to tying up the deal after a fee and contract were agreed with both Sochaux and Maiga.

The pacy forward will be missing for most of January because of Mali’s involvement in the African Cup of Nations, but the striker is so highly-regarded by boss Alan Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr that United are happy to sign him.

Maiga has four goals this season, having picked up an injury earlier in the season and been used sparingly by Sochaux as talks over his transfer with St James’s Park chiefs continue.

The acquisition of a striker will now allow Pardew to concentrate on the other area of his side that needs bolstering, the defence, with Steven Taylor out for the season with an Achilles injury.

Meanwhile, Danny Simpson’s contract talks with Newcastle United have broken down.

The defender’s been involved in long-running discussions over a new deal at St James’s Park.

But no agreement has been reached and negotiations aren’t due to restart until next summer 2012.

However, Simpson – who is interesting Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers – won’t be allowed to leave the club in next month’s transfer window.

The 24-year-old’s present deal runs until the summer of 2013.

It was signed while Simpson was plying his trade in the Championship with United, and he is among the lower earners at St James’s Park.

While Simpson – who is settled on Tyneside – is keen to extend his association with Newcastle, he is looking for a contract that reflects his contribution to the cause since joining from Manchester United.

Simpson has been a near ever-present since his loan from Old Trafford was turned into a permanent move in January last year.

This season Simpson has faced competition from versatile full-back Davide Santon, who joined from Inter Milan.

However, he has started all of United’s 15 Premier League games, most recently filling in at centre-half in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Norwich City in the absence through injury of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

Defender Mike Williamson was named in Newcastle’s squad for this afternoon’s behind-closed-reserve game against Bolton Wanderers.

Williamson has been sidelined since August with an ankle problem.

Should the 28-year-old come through the fixture successful, he could be involved in Saturday’s home game against Swansea City.