Viduka close to Magpies move

07 June 2007 10:58
Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce has revealed the signing of Mark Viduka 'is almost in the bag' and also confirmed his interest in Bolton Wanderers defender Tal Ben Haim. Viduka, 31, is out of contract at Middlesbrough and will shortly undergo a medical prior to completing a free transfer move to St James' Park. The Australia international - who netted 19 times for Boro last season - is currently on holiday but has agreed terms on a deal with the Magpies despite being linked with Portsmouth and West Ham. "Mark is almost in the bag. It's been difficult because he has been on holiday, but we're nearly there," Allardyce told the club's official website. "We hope to sort out a medical next week and then that will be done." Meanwhile, Allardyce is keen to renew his relationship with Ben Haim, who is out of contract at Bolton this summer. The Israel international defender was brought to the Premier League by Allardyce from Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2004. The 25-year-old has made over 100 appearances for Wanderers in three years at the Reebok Stadium. "Yes, I'm interested in Tal Ben Haim. He's a free agent and hopefully available," continued the United chief. "He has got three or four years of experience in the Premiership and I know him inside out. "We had a good working relationship, we grew in the Premiership together and I'm very interested in working with him again." Elsewhere, the Magpies are also close to unveiling the £5.5million capture of Joey Barton from Manchester City. Allardyce has been busy in his opening weeks at St James' Park reshaping the playing squad inherited from predecessor Glenn Roeder. Former captain Scott Parker has already completed a £7million departure to West Ham United.

Source: ESA