DANNY Simpson’s long-running contract saga could be nearing an end after talks restarted with Newcastle United.
Negotiations were put on hold late last year after a compromise couldn’t be reached.
But a fresh round of talks has seen an improved offer made to the 24-year-old, who is keen to commit his long-term future to the club.
Simpson’s deal runs out next year, and manager Alan Pardew said after discussions broke down that if a resolution couldn’t be found, he would be forced to look for a new right-back in the summer.
Last month Pardew said: “We’ve both decided we’ll have to run to the summer, and we’ll have to look at other options if he feels he doesn’t want to stay.”
However, a revised four-and-a-half year contract could now be agreed, ending an unsettling few months for Simpson, who helped Newcastle beat his former club Manchester United 3-0 on Wednesday night.
A number of club have been monitoring Simpson’s situation, among them Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.
The progress is a lift for Simpson ahead of the visit of another of his former clubs, Blackburn Rovers, to St James’s Park for a third-round FA Cup tie tomorrow.
Simpson doesn’t want to leave Tyneside, but he is keen for a contract that reflects his contribution to the cause, having been an near ever-present since his move from Old Trafford, which was initially a loan deal.
Meanwhile, West Ham United co-owner David Gold has insisted Newcastle target James Tomkins is not for sale.
Pardew yesterday refused to comment on reports a bid for Tomkins had been rejected, but Gold is adamant the defender is staying at Upton Park.
Gold said: “We want to keep James Tomkins – we really do want to keep him. I think it’s fair to say he’s not for sale.”
Pardew’s No1 priority in the transfer window is a defender, with Steven Taylor almost certainly out for the rest of the season with an Achilles problem.
And United are not interested in Dijon midfielder Benjamin Corgnet, contrary to reports yesterday.