FORMER Newport County player Karl Darlow is set for the Premier League, as he closes in on a switch to Newcastle United.
Darlow, 23, who played eight league games for the Exiles on loan in 2012, is highly regarded in these parts for playing a key role in helping County avoid relegation to the Conference South.
Since leaving County, Darlow shone on loan at Walsall and has since broken into the first team at parent club Nottingham Forest, making 64 appearances for the Reds in the past two seasons.
Darlow was a target of Wales as well in recent months, due to his eligibility for Chris Coleman’s side, but he told FAW bosses he wants to concentrate on his club career and a possible England call-up.
His impressive form has caught the eye of several Premier League scouts and as revealed in Argus Sport in January, Tottenham Hotspur were rebuffed with a bid of around £3 million for his services and have since signed Michel Vorm from Swansea City.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with Darlow; however, it is Newcastle United who appear to have won out with a double deal for Darlow and England U21 defender Jamaal Lascelles.
Both players were reported to be in Newcastle on Monday afternoon to agree terms and undergo medicals with the duo likely to be loaned back to the City Ground for a season.
Newcastle didn’t sign a single player last summer, but have already been extremely active in this transfer window.
Manager Alan Pardew insists he is pleased with his summer transfer business but has hinted he might not yet be finished adding to his squad.
The Magpies have signed seven players this summer, with latest new arrival Facundo Ferreyra joining Siem de Jong, Daryl Janmaat, Emmanuel Riviere, Jack Colback, Ayoze Perez and Remy Cabella.
It has left Pardew, who faced criticism as his side faltered during the second half of last season, positive about the future.
And he also vowed to keep his eyes open for additional reinforcements.
Speaking after his side's 3-1 win over Schalke on Sunday, he told reporters: "I think we have done some terrific business this summer. It must please the Newcastle fans that we have signed some exciting, offensive players.
"And, for me, I feel far more comfortable with the team and that we can play a brand of football that is expected of us.
"It is very difficult for the likes of the teams outside of the Champions League money to compete. But we are trying to do it in an educated manner.
"We've been accused of not spending the money we bring in, but now we have spent it and we can hope to get as close as we can. Certainly, offensively we are definitely stronger. There is no doubt about that.
"We have always maintained that we will watch the window right up until the last hours."