NEWCASTLE UNITED officials have spoken to Bournemouth about strike duo Callum Wilson and Josh King – but Steve Bruce faces a huge battle to persuade either to move to St James’ Park.

Bruce is determined to sign a new centre-forward this summer, and having watched record signing Joelinton struggle to acclimatise to life in the Premier League last season, the Magpies manager would ideally like to recruit a striker with previous experience of the English top-flight.

That means his options are limited, with Wilson and King obvious targets in the wake of Bournemouth’s relegation. The international duo are expected to leave the Vitality Stadium this summer, but Newcastle face competition from a host of rivals as they look to pull off a deal.

King, a Norway international who has scored 27 goals in just over 140 appearances for Bournemouth, is the cheaper option as he recently entered the final year of his current deal with the Cherries.

However, while his contractual situation will reduce his price, it also means the 28-year-old is interesting clubs right across Europe. Newcastle are one of around ten Premier League clubs to have discussed King’s future with the Bournemouth hierarchy, while reports yesterday suggested Champions League quarter-finalists Paris St Germain were also surprise suitors.

At least four Serie A clubs have been linked with King in the Italian media, so while Bruce will be confident of being able to meet Bournemouth’s asking price, there is a serious risk of Newcastle being outbid when it comes to wage discussions.

Having been unable to complete his proposed sale to Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-Arabia backed consortium, Mike Ashley is determined to keep his financial outgoings to a minimum this summer.

Finance will also be an issue when it comes to Wilson, with Bournemouth set to hold out for the highest possible fee for the England international, who is contracted to the South coast club for another three years.

While Wilson had a relatively disappointing season as Bournemouth were relegated, managing just eight goals from 41 appearances, his goalscoring heroics in the previous campaign mean he remains one of the most highly-regarded forwards in the country.

Bournemouth are set to demand around £30m for his services, a fee Bruce will be extremely reluctant to pay given that his entire budget for his summer rebuilding is understood to stand at around the £35m mark.

Aston Villa are known to be interested in Wilson, and are reportedly ready to offer Scott Hogan as part-payment.