Newcastle plan transfer of Reading free agent Alex Pearce to strengthen their suspect defence
Toon target: Alex Pearce (right) is wanted by the Magpies
Newcastle want to strengthen the heart of their defence by snapping up Reading centre-half Alex Pearce.
Liverpool had also been linked with the 24-year-old defender but their interest has cooled after signing former Manchester City and Arsenal star Kolo Toure.
Despite being part of a squad which was relegated from the Premier League, Pearce played well for the Royals in 21 appearances last season.
Newcastle still fear Fabricio Coloccini will return home to Argentina for personal reasons and Republic of Ireland international Pearce, who will become a free agent when his contact expires later this month, will help plug the gap.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew had been keen on West Ham central defender James Tomkins but has been told by his former club the player is not on the market.
Joint West Ham owner David Gold said: ‘We are not selling James – he’s on a long contract and is still only a young man.
‘He’s an absolutely top prospect and were he to be available it would not be easy to buy him as we have a very high valuation on him.
‘This is no longer a selling club. We are moving forward into a big future and we will therefore be keeping our biggest players – James is one of them.’