Franco Teixeira Douglas back on Newcastle United radar

douglas-image-3-484338318NEWCASTLE United have revived their interest in centre-back Douglas ÔÇô but face competition from Russia and Italy for the former FC Twente man.

United have been long-term admirers of the Brazilian-born defender, who is a free agent this summer after the expiration of his contract with the Eredivisie side, and are hopeful of finally securing a deal for the player.

It would be the first piece of transfer business of the close season for the Magpies, and a welcome boost after the clubÔÇÖs disappointing conclusion to last season.

Reports in Italy claim the player has agreed a deal to join Newcastle, but The Journal understands that is jumping the gun, with Lazio, Anzhi Makhachkala and fellow Russian side FK Krasnodar also in negotiations with the playerÔÇÖs agent.

Italian sources also claim that United have made an offer to the player which is in excess of the other deals on the table. Newcastle are certainly interested in the centre-back but do have other targets, with Paris-Saint Germain defender Mamadou Sakho and West HamÔÇÖs James Tomkins also in the frame.

Hammers chairman David Gold warned last week that the East London outfit would not sell their man unless it was a ÔÇ£very high priceÔÇØ but the player has a long-term admirer in United boss Alan Pardew.

However, Douglas is now understood to be the priority, with Lazio having apparently admitted defeat in their attempts to sign him.

At 6ft 4in he would supply the aerial ability and physical presence that Pardew has spoken of requiring from recruits this summer, and United have also received favourable reports about his temperament and suitability for the Premier League.

Newcastle were interested in signing the former Twente man last summer but when agents got involved the deal became too complicated and they walked away from it.

There was also a delay in Douglas receiving a Dutch passport which complicated matters ÔÇô though with both of those hurdles now cleared it appears that Newcastle have moved to the front of the queue for his signature.

With continued uncertainty over the future of Fabricio Coloccini, they have sensed an opportunity to secure a high calibre defender without having to pay a transfer fee.

United have made centre-back and centre-forward their key areas for strengthening this summer, although there is not understood to be any truth in reports claiming that Andy Carroll (pictured left) is holding out on signing for West Ham in the hope that Newcastle would make an approach.

United also had some interest in Aston Villa forward Andreas Weimann but were aware that he was unlikely to leave the Second City this summer.

He signed a three-year contract extension yesterday, ruling out any hopes that Newcastle might have had of landing him in the close season.

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm really happy that IÔÇÖve signed,ÔÇØ said Weimann. ÔÇ£I love the club ÔÇô itÔÇÖs been brilliant for me. I have a feeling of being at home at Villa.

ÔÇ£Hopefully, we can continue on like we finished (last season), and that will be the challenge.ÔÇØ

Meanwhile, Motherwell confirmed a friendly against Newcastle next month as news of UnitedÔÇÖs pre-season campaign continues to emerge.

United will travel north of the border on July 16, with prices set at £15 and £5. Newcastle also have offers to play St Mirren and Rangers this summer.