Newcastle manager Graeme Souness fears he he will end up empty-handed after making an audacious double swoop for Inter striker Christian Vieri and Manchester United’s Alan Smith.

The 31-year-old Vieri has been released by Inter and is available on a free transfer.

Souness said: “We did inquire about Christian Vieri. I got a mutual friend to have a word with the player, but it appears he wants to go to Spain.”

“We also made an inquiry for Alan Smith but were told there is nothing doing.”

Souness is looking for a strike partner for Alan Shearer after Patrick Kluivert was released and Craig Bellamy was told that he would never play for the club again after falling out with the manager.

Shola Ameobi is still at the club but will miss the start to the new season with a hip injury.