STEVE McCLAREN will finally be confirmed as Newcastle’s new head coach in the next 48 hours, and will immediately meet Lee Charnley to reiterate the need for a clutch of domestic signings this summer.

McClaren’s appointment, which is expected to be on a four-year contract, will be ratified once he returns from a holiday in Crete, with the former England and Middlesbrough boss set to play an influential role in transfer discussions as part of a recruitment team that also features managing director Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr.

Carr will continue to scour the European markets for a couple of promising youngsters in the mould of Ayoze Perez, who has proved a major success since signing from the Spanish Second Division last summer, but there is a shared acceptance that the current squad does not contain enough proven Premier League performers.

Mike Ashley remains reluctant to sign anyone who does not have a potential sell-on value at the end of their deal, but the Magpies owner has hinted at a willingness to adapt his previous transfer policy to provide more flexibility in terms of signing players from other English clubs.

McClaren, who is keen to retain Cheick Tiote having worked with the defensive midfielder during his time at FC Twente, is supportive of such a stance, with QPR striker Charlie Austin set to be a leading target as Newcastle prioritise the purchase of a centre-forward.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has accepted that he will be unable to hold on to Austin, who scored 18 Premier League goals last season despite his side’s relegation from the top-flight, and has been quoting a £20m asking price for the 25-year-old.

However, there is an expectation that Austin will eventually move for significantly less than that, and Newcastle will be one of a number of clubs battling for his signature.

The Magpies have already made an approach to former England international Micah Richards, who is a free agent after his previous contract at Manchester City expired.

Richards spent last season on loan at Italian side Fiorentina, but is keen to return to the Premier League in an attempt to resurrect a career that went stale at the Etihad.

McClaren is understood to be aware of the ongoing interest in the 26-year-old, and is keen to recruit a player who can play at right-back or centre-half.

The fact that Richards is moving as a free agent makes it easier to engineer a deal, although Newcastle will still need to persuade the defender to accept a major reduction on his current wages at Manchester City.

As well as targeting Austin and Richards, the Magpies have also been linked with a possible move for Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan.

Van Ginkel, who can play anywhere across the midfield, was on the club’s radar before making an £8m move to Stamford Bridge in 2013.