Newcastle have hit a stumbling block in their bid to sign Fulham’s Steed Malbranque after the Cottagers demanded £5million for his services.

The French midfielder is expected to leave Craven Cottage this summer after refusing to sign a new contract, with Newcastle and Liverpool leading the chase.

But Fulham have told interested parties that Malbranque will cost them £5million, but with just a year left on his current contract, that is a figure Newcastle are unwilling to meet.

However, Newcastle remain confident of getting their man and avoiding a repeat of the stand-off which saw them miss out on Malbranque’s team-mate Luis Boa Morte last year.