NEWCASTLE are preparing a second approach for Alassane Plea after their initial offer for the Nice striker was rejected last night.

The Magpies have held a number of discussions with Nice officials, and firmed up their interest with a formal approach yesterday.

The size of Newcastle’s unsuccessful bid has not been revealed, although it is understood to have fallen well short of Nice’s extensively-publicised asking price of €30m (around £27m).

Further discussions are planned, with Newcastle still optimistic a deal can be agreed, but sources close to the talks insist Nice are in no mood to shift from their current position.

Plea, a 25-year-old striker who started his career with Lyon before joining Nice in 2014, is also the subject of strong interest from West Ham and Fulham.

Neither London club has tabled an offer at this stage, but both are known to have included Plea’s name on a list of key attacking targets.

German side Borussia Monchengladbach have also held discussions with the Nice hierarchy, who will allow Plea to leave if their asking price is met.

New Nice boss Patrick Vieira voiced his displeasure yesterday after Plea failed to turn up for the opening day of pre-season training with his current employers.

"We were supposed to have all the players," said Vieira, who was also without former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. "Unfortunately, those weren’t there.

"We are trying to get to the bottom of it. We were expecting him (Plea) today but he wasn’t here and it wasn’t foreseen."

Newcastle have also held initial discussions about West Brom striker Salomon Rondon, who has a £16.5m relegation release clause in his current contract at the Hawthorns.

The Magpies are aware of Rondon's financial demands, which significantly increase the overall cost of any package once agents' fees are also added.

A move for Rondon remains possible, but at this stage, Plea is Newcastle's number one attacking target.