Ashley makes Taylor deal Newcastle priority

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is eager to secure defender Steven Taylor to a new contract.

A Toon insider told the Sunday Mirror: "Mike Ashley let Steven Taylor know he wanted him to stay and that meant a lot to the player.

"The lack of contract activity over the past year left Taylor feeling he was being forced out of the only club he wanted to play for.

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"With Ashley committing Newcastle to a major wage reduction policy it was a bad time to be negotiating a new contract. But the owner gave his managing director Derek Llambias and his negotiator Tony Jimenez the go-ahead to make Taylor an exception.

"Things are now moving towards a satisfactory conclusion on a three-year deal and it looks likely that Taylor will sign a new contract when he returns from holiday.

"It makes a lot of sense for the club to secure the future of a player who is on the fringe of the England team. In six months' time he could have agreed a deal to move on and Newcastle wouldn't have got a penny.

"And Ashley doesn't have to break the bank to keep Taylor. Even with his new deal he will still only be on half what the likes of Alan Smith, Damien Duff and Joey Barton earn."

Taylor, who made a full England squad last season, was earning less than £10,000 a week. But the new offer will give him parity with fellow young players such as Charles N'Zogbia and James Milner, who both earn about £30,000 a week.

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