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By ESPN Staff

Onyewu close to Newcastle move

United States international defender Oguchi Onyewu is undergoing a medical with Newcastle with a view to a loan move from Belgian side Standard Liege.

Onyewu, 24, has been attracting interest from clubs across Europe, reportedly including Chelsea.

The former Metz centre-half appeared in all three of the USA's matches at the World Cup in Germany last summer which boosted his profile and he is set to sign on loan until the end of the season.

Born in Washington DC to Nigerian parents, Onyewu played college football for two years before joining French side Metz in 2002.

He made little impact with the Lorraine club and was loaned to Belgians La Louviere in 2003 and Standard Liege a year later.

His move to Liege was made permanent soon afterwards and he has since forged a strong reputation for his strength and aerial ability, being voted the Jupiler League's foreign player of the year in 2005.

Last season was his most successful with the club as they claimed second place in the division, behind Anderlecht.

Onyewu was part of the U.S. team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2005 before featuring in last summer's World cup.

His performances in Germany led to his being voted the U.S. Soccer Federation's Soccer Athlete of the Year for 2006.

The commanding centre-half, whose nickname is "Gooch", has been linked with moves to Middlesbrough and Chelsea, among others, since last summer and was widely tipped to be joining Marseille before United made their move.