Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew sent his scouting team far and wide on their free weekend.

The Sunday Sun says Pardew and all of his key lieutenants took in games this weekend as the club step up scouting efforts ahead of a crucial summer transfer window.

With no match this weekend senior staff were billeted to games in the French and Dutch leagues - as well as the Championship and several big FA Cup games.

United's hit-list includes rising star Connor Wickham, Ivory Coast striker Gervinho and Marseille's highly-rated left-back Taye Taiwo - but Pardew wants to make sure Newcastle have covered every base before investing.

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