Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is seeking to introduce a new wage cap of £40,000-a-week, it has been revealed.
The Sunday Mirror says a Newcastle insider has revealed that Ashley is determined to trim a wage bill that has shot up by nearly a third in two years.
"Alan Smith cost Newcastle £6m and is on £3m a year, but didn't manage a single competitive goal last season. He has another four years on that deal.
"Joey Barton is on the same money and also has four years left on his contract, and is in jail. Michael Owen cost £16m and £15m in wages over three seasons and has scored 20 goals. That works out at £1.5m a goal. "At the other end of the scale England Under-21 skipper Steven Taylor earns less than £10,000 a week. Ashley is determined that the wage scale becomes fairer and more manageable.
"He knows that Everton made Europe last season with none of their players earning over £50,000 a week and that is the sort of salary level he wants.
"So the big earners at Newcastle will have a simple choice - they either take a pay cut or they go elsewhere.
"It will be a difficult balancing act but one that Ashley believes is necessary."