BORO INTERESTED IN XISCO

Middlesbrough are interested in signing Newcastle United striker Xisco in this transfer window. The 24-year-old, who cost £5.7m from Deportivo La Coruna when he signed in August 2008, has made just 11 appearances for United, scoring once.

He spent much of last season on loan at La Liga side Racing Santander, scoring three goals in 23 games.

Boro are also believed to be keen on Hibernian winger Merouane Zemmama.

NEWCASTLE HOLD CARROLL HOPE

Newcastle United are hoping that Andy Carroll will be fit for the club’s next match on Sunday. Carroll has missed the last three games with a thigh injury but could make his return at the Stadium of Light.

“If we put him in, and he breaks down again, we could lose him for four or five weeks,” Newcastle skipper Nolan told BBC Look North.

“But we want our best players available because, if we do, we feel we can take on any team in the Premier League.”

The Liverpool-born midfielder was a hat-trick hero in the last derby game, the 5-1 win at St James’ Park in October.

Newcastle have meanwhile bee linked to new players in the January transfer window, including William Gallas and Nicklas Bendtner.

PARDEW CRITICISES DISPLAY

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has criticised the team’s performance against Tottenham. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was left to rue his side’s lacklustre attacking display at White Hart Lane.

“I thought a lot of things we did today were very good, we nullified Spurs to a certain degree,” Pardew reflected. “We had opportunities to hurt Spurs, but we were poor and not at our best.

“Their first goal had an element of fortune because our keeper Tim Krul could have saved the shot if it hadn’t taken a deflection.”

Newcastle have been linked with bids for James Collins and David Bentley in the January transfer window.

PARDEW DENIES RUMOURS

Alan Pardew has denied rumours that agreed to take over the Newcastle United manager’s job before Chris Hughton has sacked. Hughton was given the boot by the Magpies on Monday and was replaced at St James’ Park by Pardew three days later.

However, there have been rumours that Pardew’s appointment as Newcastle boss had been lined up several weeks ago.

Speaking after a 3-1 home win over Liverpool in his first game in charge, Pardew stressed there was no previous agreement to take over on Tyneside.

Diego Cavalieri and Paulo Ferreira have been linked to Newcatle in the January transfer window.

TAYLOR SET TO RETURN

Steven Taylor is set to return for Newcastle United in the crunch match against Chelsea. A series of injuries allied to the centre-half’s refusal to sign a new contract at Newcastle have conspired to sideline him but, with Chris Hughton’s first-choice pairing of Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson both suspended, Taylor will start alongside the similarly ring-rusty Sol Campbell.

“Steven Taylor has been fit for a good while now but he’s missed a lot of games,” said the Newcastle manager. “What you have with Steven, though, is a very good player.”

Moreover, Hughton is hoping to broker a compromise over Newcastle’s contract offer. “We certainly want to keep him here,” he said. “He’s the right profile, the right age and the right quality for the type of player we want here at Newcastle. We want Steven and we’ll endeavour to keep him.”

BEN ARFA PLEASED WITH START

Newcastle United loan star Hatem Ben Arfa says that he is pleased with the start that the club and himself have made this season. Ben Arfa, who is on a season-long loan at Newcastle from Marseille, marked his first start for the Magpies with a stunning winner in the 1-0 victory at Everton on Saturday.

The French international is settling into life on Tyneside and he is delighted with his start at his new club. “Sometimes in football you have to take a risk,” said Ben Arfa. “I knew about Newcastle United and when I came there for the first time, you could see how big it was.

“It may have been newly-promoted but it didn’t feel like it because there are so many good players at the club – and you could see that on Saturday.”

BEN ARFA DESPERATE TO JOIN NEWCASTLE

Newcastle United new boy Hatem Ben Arfa has said that he is not feeling bad about forcing Olympique Marseille because he badly wanted to join Newcastle United. Known as a mercurial individual, Ben Arfa went on strike from les Phoceens after they had turned down an approach from the Premier League club. Additionally, he threatened to quit football if the move didn’t take place.

Having moved from Olympique Lyonnais to OM in a not dissimilar manner two years previously, Ben Arfa doesn’t see a problem with the way he handled himself.

“At no time did I figure I had done something stupid,” Ben Arfa stated.

“The decision to possibly spend a year without playing, I took myself. I have a hard head, you know.”

The media have speculated that the player’s father has had an influence over his actions in recent days, but that’s been rejected by the winger.

“I’m not a kid, I’m 23 years old. The decisions come from me and only me. I am not manipulated by anyone,” Ben Arfa said.

It is believed that it is partly because of this transfer drama that Laurent Blanc has overlooked the player regularly considered French football’s enfant terrible for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers.

NEWCASTLE SIGN GOSLING

Newcastle have pulled off a major coup in the transfer market by signing young sensation, Dan Gosling on a free transfer. The 20-year-old was entitled to leave Everton on a free transfer after the club failed to give a written offer to the out-of-contract player by mid-May.

“It’s a brilliant move for me – now that the deal is done, I can’t wait to get started,” Gosling told the Newcastle club website.

“I’ve played at St James’ Park and know about the great atmosphere.”

He added: “Playing there in a black and white shirt is something I’ve thought about already and it will be a great day when I finally get to walk out in front of 50,000 fans.”

NEWCASTLE WANT BOYD

RANGERS believe Newcastle United have re-entered the race to sign striker Kris Boyd after Birmingham City turned their attentions elsewhere.

Boyd has been courted by City all summer and had expected to move to St Andrew’s when his contract at Ibrox expires at the end of June.

But Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is attempting to follow up the £6m signing of Nikola Zigic by beating Wolves to the £7m capture of Burnley’s Steven Fletcher, which would signal the end of his interest in Boyd.

A fortnight ago Newcastle had unofficially discounted making a move for Boyd, but towards the end of last week sources close to the player suggested Newcastle are in the market for him again.

Sigurdsson to Snub Newcastle?

Gylfi Sigurdsson insists he is happy to stay at Reading Football Club. The Icelandic international won many admirers during the 2009-2010 season after hitting 20 goals for the Royals, which has led to much speculation over his future.

It has recently been suggested that Premier League new-boys Newcastle United are prepared to pay £2million for his signature, as Chris Hughton plans for their top-flight return.

However, Sigurdsson insists he is prepared to reject all offers which may come this way during the window, as he looks to help his current club clinch promotion next season.

“I’ve got two more years on my contract,” said the midfielder. “I’m happy here and playing every week so I think it would be a good idea to stay here for another two seasons.

“I’ll just turn my phone off and enjoy the summer now. If we start next season properly then I think we will have a great chance to get into the Premier League.”