ALAN Shearer is "110 per cent" Newcastle United's choice as the club's next manager.
Owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias are convinced Shearer is the man to bring Newcastle back into the Premier League.
And the trio were today in talks aimed at thrashing out a way forward, with all admitting time is of the essence.
Shearer – who will be offered a four-year deal – is keen to get to work as quickly as possible, with a huge amount of planning needed to be done before the players report back for pre-season training at the start of July, with the Championship kicking off on August 8.
There need to be wholesale changes in the playing staff, with the crippling wage bill – which totals 74m – needing to be cut in half to avert a financial meltdown given the loss of the top-flight's huge TV revenues.
Llambias hopes to conclude a deal swiftly, and make an announcement to fans later this week.
"We want him to be the manager 110 per cent," said Llambias. "He's very good at what he does, and he's a straight talking guy – we like that.
"He'd be the perfect appointment. Talks will start today, and we're going to review the situation.
"We are trying to sort something, and we'll give the public some information as soon as possible. Alan has put a lot of work into the job at Newcastle, and we're talking to him now."
Among the players that will have to be moved on this summer are Fabricio Coloccini – understood to be on in excess of 70,000 a week – and Joey Barton, who rakes in well over 3m a year, while out-of-contract duo Michael Owen and Mark Viduka will not be offered new deals.