NEWCASTLE UNITED are hoping to make Leeds United striker Ross McCormack their main domestic attacking acquisition of the summer.
Magpies officials have been in touch with their counterparts at Elland Road to discuss McCormack, who was the Championship’s leading scorer last season with 28 goals despite Leeds’ struggles.
The Elland Road club are in a state of considerable chaos after parting company with their manager, Brian McDermott, on Friday night following the completion of a takeover by flamboyant Italian Massimo Cellino.
Newcastle’s recruitment team are hoping to exploit the current uncertainty by capturing 27-year-old McCormack, who has three years of his current contract to run.
Leeds turned down offers from both West Ham United and Cardiff City in January, with the latter understood to have tabled a £4m bid late on transfer-deadline day.
It is believed that McCormack would be allowed to leave Elland Road for a fee of around £5m this summer, and while Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley recently expressed a reluctance to sign players in their mid-to-late 20s, Alan Pardew is pushing for the recruitment of at least one proven striker with experience of English conditions.
Tenerife youngster Ayoze Perez is set to move to Tyneside for around £1.6m, and Newcastle are expected to recruit another centre-forward from abroad, with Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Alexandre Lacazette high up their wanted list.
However, with Loic Remy, Shola Ameobi and Luuk de Jong all having left the club since the end of last season, and Papiss Cisse certain to miss the start of next season after a knee operation, there are likely to be at least three attacking arrivals before the transfer window closes.
McCormack will be one of them if a deal can be agreed with Leeds officials, although Newcastle are also understood to be considering a move for Burnley’s Danny Ings, who is still to sign a new deal at Turf Moor despite having entered the final year of his current contract.
As well as pursuing a number of centre-forwards, Newcastle remain keen to secure an attacking midfield replacement for Yohan Cabaye, who left in January, with Remy Cabella still their preferred option.
The Magpies have not returned to the table since having a £6.5m bid for the Frenchman rejected last week as there is a feeling that Montpellier are not currently willing to lower a 12m Euros price tag that is regarded as wholly unrealistic within St James’ Park.
Newcastle are willing to sit things out despite competition from elsewhere, although the situation could become complicated if Cabella is called up to France’s World Cup squad as a replacement for Franck Ribery.
Ribery is struggling with a back injury, and reports in the French press are painting an increasingly gloomy picture of the Bayern Munich winger’s ability to make the squad for Brazil.
Cabella is his likely replacement if he fails to make it, having been named in Didier Deschamps’ provisional 30-man squad for the tournament.
Logistically, Cabella’s presence in the French squad would make it much harder for Newcastle to complete a deal in the next month or so, and the Magpies would also be running the risk of the 24-year-old enjoying a successful tournament that raised his price even higher.