NEWCASTLE UNITED officials are pondering their next move after Bournemouth rejected Aston Villa’s initial bid for striker Callum Wilson.

Villa are understood to have tabled an offer of around £15m, with a further £5m potentially payable via a series of add-on clauses.

However, the Bournemouth board rejected the bid as it does not meet their valuation of Wilson, who is contracted to the Vitality Stadium until the summer of 2023.

Yesterday’s developments confirm the seriousness of Villa’s interest in Wilson, and negotiations between the two clubs are set to continue over the weekend.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has identified Wilson as his number one attacking target, but the Magpies’ recruitment team will have to act quickly if they want to land the England international.

Given that Bruce’s entire summer budget is understood to be around £35m unless he can raise additional funds through the sale of players, there appears to be little likelihood of Newcastle tabling the kind of £20m-plus offer that might persuade Bournemouth to sell.

However, the Cherries’ interest in re-signing Matt Ritchie could yet prove decisive, if Bruce can persuade the Scotland international to drop down to the Championship.

Newcastle are understood to be willing to include Ritchie in a deal for Wilson, but the versatile left-sider’s wages will be an issue and there is no guarantee he will agree to be part of a deal that would see him have to leave St James’ Park after four productive seasons.

With the opening game of the Premier League season now just eight days away, Newcastle will complete their pre-season preparations when they host Championship side Stoke City tomorrow afternoon.

Dwight Gayle will not be involved as he is due to undergo surgery this weekend to repair medial collateral ligament damage. The striker is set to be sidelined for up to three months because of the issue.