Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear told Sky Sports News: "We were with Darren's agent for two or three hours, we thrashed out a deal.
"We are still in negotiations with Aston Villa so there is a really strong possibility there.
"Again I hear the latest is that somebody else has all of a sudden shown interest in the player so we have competition from various clubs around the country, but I am not letting go.
"These are players that me and Alan [Pardew] have spoken about. These are players that we've all agreed at the club are the type of player we want to bring to Newcastle."