Alan Pardew wants Rhys Williams at Newcastle

Williams wanted by Pardew as Newcastle boss looks to bolster squad with Boro defender

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is set to make a move for Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams.

Pardew is looking to strengthen his squad on a budget and Williams, who can play across the back four as well as in midfield, has caught the eye.

The 23-year-old Australia international came through the Boro academy and has 18 months left on his contract.

Versatile: Rhys Williams (centre) is on Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

Versatile: Rhys Williams (centre) is on Newcastle boss Alan Pardew”s radar

But he has made no secret of his desire to play in the Premier League and could be tempted by the short move to Tyneside.

Newcastle will be without the services of midfielder Cheick Tiote and striker Demba Ba during the Africa Cup of Nations but Pardew is adamant a defender is the priority.

He said: “You have to pay over the odds in this window, everybody does, and you have to accept that if you are going to invest in this window, and we won”t in terms of a striker. We are looking at bringing maybe a defender in. We need to bring in a defender.”

Centre-half Steven Taylor is out for the season with an achilles injury.