NEWCASTLE UNITED will look to increase their ex-Bournemouth contingent this summer by securing a deal for former Cherries forward Josh King.

King, who was one of the Magpies’ leading transfer targets 12 months ago, is a free agent after his short-term deal at Everton came to an end.

The Norway international moved to Goodison Park in January, but failed to find the target as he was handed just 11 substitute appearances in the second half of last season.

The Everton hierarchy opted not to offer him a new deal, and while he might have struggled last term, the 29-year-old’s proven Premier League pedigree, allied to the fact that he is available without the need for a transfer fee, is sure to make him of serious interest to Steve Bruce and the rest of Newcastle’s recruitment team.

King is represented by the German-based ROGON agency, who also look after the interests of Newcastle forward Joelinton, and with Magpies head of recruitment Steve Nickson boasting strong ties with the group, formal talks are expected to take place within the next few weeks.

There will be plenty of clubs, both in the Premier League and based overseas, interested in King, but the opportunity to remain in the English top-flight will appeal to the forward, who was a team-mate of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie during his time at the Vitality Stadium.

King’s arrival would enable Bruce to refresh his attacking ranks at a minimal cost, with the Newcastle boss working to a limited budget this summer as Mike Ashley continues with his legal action against the Premier League, which is being pursued in an attempt to force through a sale to Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium.

Newcastle are expected to confirm their retained list this week, with Andy Carroll set to be released along with Christian Atsu and Henri Saivet.

Dwight Gayle is poised to sign a new three-year deal, but the contract is a means of protecting Newcastle’s investment in the striker rather than an indication that he will play a prominent role in the first team next season. It is anticipated that Gayle will either be sold on or loaned before the start of the new campaign, with recently-relegated Fulham and West Brom both known to be interested in the 30-year-old.

Talks remain ongoing with both Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar, with Newcastle understood to be keen to trigger a clause in the latter’s contract enabling them to extend his current deal.

Fernandez is due to become a free agent later this month, but the Argentianian has expressed a desire to remain at St James’ Park if an acceptable arrangement can be agreed.