The Shields Gazette says sources close to the long-standing Toon target claim he would snub Premier League football with Sunderland to achieve his dream.
The Norwegian international has been on United's radar for almost a year, and was heavily linked with a move to Tyneside in the last two transfer windows.
A source close to the player said: "He is unconcerned about Newcastle's relegation, as he's certain they'll be back up in the Premier League after only one season in the Championship.
"And he is hoping to get to play for Alan Shearer, who is one of his heroes.
"There was talk of a move to Sunderland, but he has his heart set on Newcastle. If he doesn't go to Newcastle, he is unlikely to sign for their greatest rivals."