READING are eyeing Newcastle full-back Danny Simpson – as a Magpie move for Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy edges closer.
Simpson’s future looks to be away from the Sports Direct Arena after long-running contract talks broke down.
The club and player still were still some way apart in discussions late last season.
And newly-promoted Reading – who last week signed former Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie – are ready to step in and meet the one-time Sunderland loan defender’s wage demands as he enters the final year of his contract.
The news comes as Newcastle close in on another right-back, highly-rated Debuchy.
The Tynesiders have already had a bid for Debuchy, understood to be around £4million, rejected by the French club, but they are ready to offer more in an attempt to prise him away from the Stade Lille-Metropole.
Debuchy has made it know that he is keen to join Yohan Cabaye – his France team-mate and former Lille colleague – at Newcastle.
And the 26-year-old – on holiday after his involvement with France’s Euro 2012 squad – is ready to force a move to the Magpies, who have delved heavily into the French transfer market in recent years under the astute guidance of chief scout Graham Carr.
Debuchy impressed at Euro 2012, and United are not the only club to have an interest in him. However, Newcastle are increasingly confident they can complete a deal.
Meanwhile, Simpson is acutely aware that his position as the club’s first-choice right-back is in doubt, but the 25-year-old could bide his time before deciding on his future.
Reading are looking for a new right-back after the release of former United defender Andy Griffin, and Simpson, a near-ever-present last season, would add Premier League experience to Brian McDermott’s side.
And Guthrie, freed last month after four years on Tyneside, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Simpson to McDermott.
“If I was asked by the manager here for my thoughts, I would tell him how good a footballer he is, and how he always gives his best for the team,” said Guthrie.
Meanwhile, keeper Rob Elliot was back at the Magpies’ training ground for fitness tests yesterday ahead of the start of pre-season training tomorrow.
The 26-year-old – who made one appearance last season after joining from Charlton – is looking forward to staking his claim, with first-choice Tim Krul not due back until Monday because of his involvement in Holland’s Euro 2012 campaign.
“Obviously, not every footballer likes pre-season, but it’s good to be back, especially after last season,” Elliot said. “There’s a buzz about the place. Pre-season for me is a good time – I should get a few games.”