Stoke, managerless for two months, have held talks with the former England striker, who is now 36, with a view to his assuming the player-manager's role. If the First Division club can meet Newcastle's asking price, believed to be around pounds 500,000, Beardsley would head a three-man unit incorporating the current coaching staff of Chic Bates and Mike Pejic.
Bolton have already shown interest in signing Beardsley purely in a playing capacity. Stoke may also face competition from Hull City if a consortium involving the former tennis player, David Lloyd, succeeds with a takeover offer for the ailing Third Division club.
Beardsley still wants to fight for his place at the Magpies however. "I would like to stay on at Newcastle and it's up to them to make me an offer," he said yesterday. "I think I have a couple more years left playing top flight football."
Another managerless Midlands outfit, Walsall, have surprisingly installed the former Ajax and Denmark midfielder, Jan Sorensen, on the short-list of four from which they will pick Chris Nicholl's successor this week. Sorensen, now living at nearby Tamworth and selling timeshare, impressed the Second Division club's chairman, Jeff Bonser, in an interview.
The other contenders are understood to be Willie Donachie (formerly No 2 to Joe Royle at Everton and Oldham), Frank Stapleton (the former Bradford City manager), and the Walsall player-coach, Kevin Wilson.
Reports last night suggested that the two Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton, are the main contenders to sign the England midfielder Paul Ince, who seems certain to be leaving his Italian club, Internazionale.
Geoff Thomas, the former England midfield player who has been freed by Wolves, has been unable to agree personal terms with Barnsley.