NEWCASTLE UNITED were last night closing in on the £9m signing of England international Jonathan Woodgate.

Woodgate, 23, discussed personal terms with the Magpies yesterday and is expected to complete the formalities of his move today.

His departure from Leeds United was greeted with fan protests in Yorkshire last night, but Newcastle were jubilant at the impending arrival of one of England's most accomplished defenders.

A Newcastle statement, issued yesterday, said: "We have agreed a fee with Leeds United for the transfer of Jonathan Woodgate.

"The completion of the transfer is subject to the player agreeing personal terms with Newcastle United."

Middlesbrough-born Woodgate has been in top form for Leeds this season after coming through the ordeal of two crown court trials.

He was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to student Sarfraz Najeib in an incident in Leeds, in January 2000, but was convicted of affray and served a sentence of 100 hours' community service.

Read more about Newcastle United FC here.