Newcastle United are hoping to take advantage of a clause in the contract of Luis Boa Morte, as Graeme Souness continues to hunt down one of his long-term transfer targets.

United were first linked with the Fulham winger back in January but, although they were confident they could entice the player away from Craven Cottage during the mid-season transfer window, they were stunned when, rather than move to the North-East, Boa Morte signed a new five-year contract.

That, though, has not deterred Souness who has since discovered that the Portuguese international has a clause in his contract allowing him to talk to another Premiership club if a certain figure is bid for him, thought to be in the region of £3.5m.

Boa Morte – who is also interesting Liverpool – was persuaded not to leave the Cottagers by manager Chris Coleman because Fulham were still facing a potential relegation battle.

But, at 27 and with more than 150 appearances for Fulham, he has suggested he is ready for a new challenge, something Souness will certainly be able to offer him as he attempts to rebuild a United side which has just endured its worst Premiership campaign.

The former Arsenal man is in the Portuguese squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Estonia, which would appear to have delayed the prospect of finalising a quick deal for a player who is seen by Souness as the ideal replacement for the out-going Laurent Robert.