D-day arrives for Ashley over Shearer's rebuilding programme

Alan Shearer is expected to discover today if he is to become the permanent manager of Newcastle United.

Shearer spent several hours on Tuesday negotiating with Newcastle's owner, Mike Ashley, and it is understood Shearer and his assistants Iain Dowie and Paul Ferris presented Ashley with a convincing plan as to how they will cope with relegation from the Premier League and mount a promotion campaign. Ashley was not on Tyneside as talks continued on Wednesday and all parties were awaiting a response yesterday.

There is some optimism locally that Ashley will agree to Shearer's vision. Shearer has said that he wishes to place a £15m transfer fee on centre-half Sébastien Bassong in the hope it deters suitors, or funds a new defence.

Should Bassong stay then, with Steve Harper, Habib Beye and Steven Taylor pledging their commitment for next season, Shearer's Newcastle would have an experienced defensive base. Reports in Italy yesterday linked Obafemi Martins with a move to Fiorentina. A fee of £8m was mentioned.