NEWCASTLE are eyeing up a move for Oxford captain Rob Dickie as Steve Bruce looks to strengthen his defensive options over the summer.
Dickie, 24, was one the stand-out players in League One last season as Oxford missed out on promotion by losing the play-off final.
That failure to climb up into the Championship is likely to cost Karl Robinson his most influential player with several top flight clubs circling.
The England under-19 international was watched by Leeds and West Brom scouts throughout last season, but it is Newcastle who could make the first move with budgets limited after the collapse of their takeover.
The centre-back also impressed in two FA Cup games against Newcastle earlier this season – a 0-0 draw at St James’ Park and a 3-2 Toon win that needed extra-time.
With just a year left to run on his existing contract, Dickie would only cost around £2million with Oxford knowing they would miss out on a fee for the centre-back next summer.
SunSport revealed how Bruce wants to buy young British talent — and Dickie fits the bill.
Meanwhile, Toon keeper Karl Darlow is a Birmingham target, but the clubs are miles apart on valuation.
The Magpies want a fee or a loan deal with extras for Darlow, 29, and Blues chief Aitor Karanka is struggling to fund it.
Doncaster hope Stoke let them have keeper Josef Bursik on loan.
Bursik, 20, is highly rated by the Potters but they may let him out once Jack Butland’s future is nailed down.
And Chelsea’s Nathan Baxter, 21, is training with Swindon, although a loan will be hard to broker as the keeper is on a big salary at Stamford Bridge