NEWCASTLE officials are believed to be mystified at reports linking the club to a £4m bid for Derby County's Irish centre-half Richard Keogh.
New Magpies manager Steve McClaren was linked with a move for Keogh, who he managed as Derby boss last season, but Newcastle's defensive plans are believed to centre around other targets.
If McClaren did push for Keogh's signature, he would face competition from West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland, who have also been linked with a move for the 28-year-old Ireland international.
Derby, McClaren's former club, have made a move to sign the Burnley central defender Jason Shackell and if they were able to get him, they might allow Keogh to leave at the right price.
They turned down a bid worth £2.5m for him last summer from Burnley, and he went on to agree a new contract at the club until 2018. Keogh was named in last season's Championship Team of the Year and he has his admirers at West Brom, namely the manager, Tony Pulis, and the scout Andy Thorn.
Pulis worked with him when he was a young player at Stoke City while Thorn was his manager at Coventry City. Sunderland are also monitoring the situation.
Keogh, who joined Derby from Coventry in 2012, made 45 league appearances for the club last season and has established himself in Martin O'Neill's Ireland squad.