Magpies move for Woodgate

Keegan looks to bring in defender

Woodgate: Magpies link

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Skysports.com understands that Newcastle have opened talks about taking Jonathan Woodgate back to Tyneside.

In news that will shock many Middlesbrough fans, Boro seem set to let the England defender depart The Riverside.

Woodgate rejected the chance to re-join Newcastle in 2007 when he opted instead to pen a permanent deal with Boro - where he had spent the previous season on loan from Real Madrid.

However, Woodgate is understood to have become increasingly unsettled with life under Gareth Southgate at Boro and he could now be set to depart his hometown club.

With David Wheater and Roberth Huth performing admirably, and with Chris Riggott and Emmanuel Pogagtetz, also available to him - Southgate has seemingly decided that he can do without Woodgate.

Woodgate spent 18 months with Newcastle up to August 2004 - when Madrid paid more than £13million to secure his services.

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Tottenham are also thought to have expressed their interest, but a deal with Newcastle is much further advanced and Woodgate is reported to have met Magpies officials in the last 48 hours.

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan handed Woodgate his England debut and he has remained a firm fan ever since, with the player still popular with the Toon Army following his earlier stint.

Boro paid around £7million last summer to take Woodgate from the Spanish capital and they are set to make profit on the 27-year-old with a fee of up to £9million being suggested.

Despite the fact Boro are well stocked in central defence, and they would make money, the move is likely to be met with dismay by many sections of the Boro faithful who are still licking their wounds from Mark Viduka's decision to swap Teesside for Tyneside last summer.