NEWCASTLE United last night took a step closer to securing the services of Lille wide man Gervinho.

The winger’s agent made it known to the French press at the weekend that he will be negotiating a deal, which will eventually see him link up with Lille teammate Johan Cabaye and Ivory Coast international colleague Cheik Tiote.

Gervinho cost the French outfit £6.5m from Ligue 1 counterparts Le Mans two years ago but it will take at least £10m for the club’s owners to agree that the 24-yearold can leave the Stade Lille- Metropole for St James’ Park.

The fleet-footed African fits the current model preferred by the Newcastle hierarchy in that he is young, hungry to succeed and at an age where he could still command a fee if he was to be sold on.

Gervinho began his career in Belgium, at Beveren, where he netted 14 times in 61 games, before scoring on eight occasions for Le Mans in 59 outings. At Lille he has found the target 25 times from only 54 appearances – an impressive strike rate for a wide man.

The Magpies are also believed to be closing in on Swansea left back Neil Taylor.

United manager Alan Pardew has been alerted to a loophole in the promising 22- year-old’s contract which will allow him to leave the Liberty Stadium for only £1m.

The defender, capped three times by Wales, has been targeted by Pardew as a direct replacement for Jose Enrique, who is expected to leave. Several clubs are interested in the Spanish defender, with Liverpool and AC Milan leading the chase.

Meanwhile, Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul took another step towards becoming first choice at St James’ Park after an outstanding display for his country against Brazil.

Krul has made no secret he wants to be United’s number one and if he continues the form which saw him claim his first international cap he will make that ambition a reality.

The 23-year-old made his debut for Netherlands’ senior side in Saturday’s friendly against the South Americans in Goiania.

Krul was given the nod by manager Bert van Marwijk after injuries to Maarten Stekelenburg and Michel Vorm. And the United shotstopper repaid that faith with several outstanding saves in a 0-0 draw.

“This is like a dream come true for me,” said Krul. “Making your debut like this gives a fantastic feeling.

“It was an amazing evening and I am very happy. It went really well, although I admit that I had some luck as well when Erik Pieters cleared a ball off the goal-line.

“Keeping a clean sheet against Brazil is quite something.”