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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Shearer set for contract talks

Soccernet staff

Geordie legend Alan Shearer will sit down with Newcastle United bosses on Tuesday to discuss turning his interim managerial appointment into a permanent position - with a four-year contract.

Having sent his players on their summer break with fitness plans following a short meeting on Monday, the 38-year-old will meet with Magpies owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias to discuss his and the club's future.

Following relegation from the Premier League on Sunday Shearer said that the floundering Tyneside club required root-and-branch reform and Newcastle's former No.9 will demand things are done his way if he is to attempt to drag the club back into the top-flight.

Alongside his long-term contract Shearer will ask for full control of all player recruitment and a budget between 10m to 15m to rebuild the squad. He will also demand carte blanche to overhaul a squad that has pushed the wage bill to in excess of 70million.

Skipper Michael Owen's 103,000-a-week deal draws to a close at the end of next month, while an option on Mark Viduka's contract is unlikely to be taken up.

However, the likes of Alan Smith, Joey Barton, Obafemi Martins,Geremi, Claudio Cacapa and a host of other high earners will also need to be offloaded if the club are to slash their expenditure.

More worryingly, Shearer has been saddled with costly flops inherited from Dennis Wise's ill-judged forays into the transfer market, with Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez and Xisco among those whose sell-on value is significantly less than what was paid for them.

Ashley, who knows relegation could cost the club around 50million in lost revenue, is also aware Shearer's appointment could help to limit a fans' backlash, with the prospect of thousands of empty seats at St James' Park next season certain to reduce the club's income further.

Meanwhile, former former Newcastle owner Sir John Hall has taken a pop at the club's relegated squad, branding them "rubbish" and "useless".

"The table doesn't lie," Hall told The Sun. "It's been desperately poor all season and the worst thing is they didn't even appear to try on Sunday.

"I'm not going to pull any punches. This current side is rubbish. Useless."

Hall also savaged the club's policy in the transfer market in recent seasons.

"I'm as baffled as anyone with the signings of players like Joey Barton. Then again, (former manager) Sam Allardyce said he could put him right," he said.

"As for Michael Owen, he's had too many injuries and he's never seemed to be on the ball.

"Now we are saddled with a huge wage bill. The lesson here is obvious: you can't take on yesterday's men and hope to survive. That's for a club with no ambition."

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