NEWCASTLE United have identified the players that can propel Alan Pardew’s side back up the Premier League next season – if the club stays up.
And Aston Villa frontman Andreas Weimann figures on Newcastle’s transfer shortlist.
United are monitoring Weimann’s situation at Villa Park, where talks on a new deal for the Austria international have stalled.
Weimann – who has scored 11 goals for Paul Lambert’s struggling team – has just one more year left on his Villa contract.
And Newcastle – also still chasing St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – are among the clubs ready to move for Weimann, who has been regularly watched this season.
Saturday’s opponents Liverpool are reportedly keen on Weimann along with Borussia Dortmund and Norwich City.
If Villa can’t agree a new long-term deal with Weimann, the club will be forced to cash in on him in the summer transfer window.
Lambert will hope that Weimann can be persuaded to stay should the club secure its Premier League status.
If they go down, then he will almost certainly leave.
Fourth-from-bottom Villa are three points behind United, who are a win short of the traditional 40-point benchmark for top-flight safety.
Newcastle’s own disappointing domestic season has underlined the need for reinforcements, and a striker is a priority for Pardew, who lost leading scorer Demba Ba to Chelsea in the summer.
There will also be outgoings. There remains a question mark over the future of captain Fabricio Coloccini, the lynchpin of Pardew’s defence. Coloccini, close to a comeback from a back injury, will have talks over his future at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old told the club he was keen to return to his native Argentina in January because of “personal matters”.
United want Coloccini to stay, but possible replacements have already been identified.
However, Newcastle will not let Coloccini – wanted by Argentinian club San Lorenzo – walk out of the door for nothing.
There will also be departures, with right-back Danny Simpson and goalkeeper Steve Harper set to leave when their deals expire.