Manchester United's hopes of signing highly-rated Sunderland defender Louis Laing have been dealt a blow after it emerged that Newcastle are preparing to offer the youngster a trial.
The Daily Star reports how the 21-year-old has attracted admiring glances from a host of Premier League and Championship clubs, with the player set to leave the Stadium of Light on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Laing has been training with the Red Devils, and is understood to have impressed reserve team coaches at Old Trafford, but is keeping his options open after seeing his development stall on Wearside.
The former England U19 international made just one senior appearance for the Black Cats after first signing for them in 2011, and is eager to secure himself a guarantee of regular first-team football at his new club.
A move to the second tier might better suit Laing's short-term aspirations, but that is unlikely to deter him from undertaking a trial with the Magpies, after Alan Pardew was alerted to the centre-back's availability.
Newcastle would arguably provide a clearer pathway to the first-team than Manchester United, even though the champions are in need of central defensive reinforcements in light of the impending departure of Nemanja Vidic.