Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is hopeful of securing one of his summer transfer targets in the next fortnight.
The Magpies boss has been desperately trying to sign Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy and FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong but the North East club has so far struggled to agree a fee with either respective club for their services. Debuchy, who impressed at the Euro 2012 Championships for France and who is a close friend of Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye is keen to move to St. James’ Park but de Jong seems to prefer a move to German side Borussia Mochengladbach, who have secured Champions League football next season.
Newcastle have also made bids for de Jong’s Twente team-mate Douglas, a commanding Brazilian centre-half in the Dutch league who is unsettled at Steve McClaren’s side and also versatile Ajax left-back and defensive midfielder Vurnon Anita, but the Geordies again can’t agree a fee with their respective clubs for either man.
The attempts to sign all four players have been well documented but when asked yesterday if any signings were imminent, Pardew said;
“No, I don’t think so, not in the immediate week or so, but certainly over the next 14 days, I would like to think a body would come in.
“I would like to think we have got a strategy, and we are looking at various options of players to come in, of course.
“The good news for us is we haven’t lost anybody, and we are doing everything we can to make sure that this team that bedded in so well last year goes forward together.”
With the increasing possibility that Newcastle may have been priced out for all four targets, the club may have to come up with a “Plan B” which may be the strategy that is being spoken of. The club are certainly finding it more difficult than last season to purchase some unknown names from the continent who chief scout Graham Carr has signalled as potential Premier League stars after how well Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Davide Santon performed, and from the previous signings – how well Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa have taken to England’s top division.
This time last year Newcastle had swooped in early to sign Demba Ba from the under the noses of other suitors and had already secured the signings of Sylvain Marveaux and Cabaye. This season has been much tougher and they’ve only been able to sign youngsters for the future – a French second division star in Romain Amalfitano and Coventry’s midfielder Gael Bigirimana. Although nothing is known about the obscure first name, the latter looks to be a real coup from Coventry where our comments section went nuts with praise from fans who had nothing but great things to say about their departed player.
Pardew admits that this summer window has been tougher to work as thrifty as before;
“It was a different scenario last year. We didn’t finish fifth, so we had a lot of work to do.
“I am just very, very pleased that the successful players that we have had have all come back fit and well. They all look strong, they all look like they are ready to go again now, let alone in four weeks’ time.
“If they see one or two come in before then, it’s going to give them a boost.
“Sometimes with signings, timing is very, very important, as [January signing Papiss] Cisse proved last year.
“We are keeping an eye on when players should come in and making sure the gang we have here, who are 90% of our team, are on the ball.”
Interestingly, Pardew declined to comment on the bubbling Andy Carroll situation at Liverpool. It has become clear this week that England’s most expensive footballer in history is unfancied by new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and it is looking likely that the Anfield hierarchy either want to cut their losses on a sale to recoup as much funds as they can (fearing another season like last could knock off millions from his price tag) or a situation where they can claw back a significant fee for a loan move.
There has been a lot of talk that Newcastle would be interested in bringing Carroll back to his hometown club if a deal can be worked out and perhaps if he was willing to take a pay cut. Pardew is a huge admirer of Carroll and was devastated when he lost his star player back in January 2010.
He said of the situation yesterday;
He said: “There’s a lot of talk about players when new managers go in, and situations get all cloudy. I don’t think that’s completely resolved one way or the other, so I wouldn’t really like to comment.
“He did an absolutely terrific job here. I have always supported him while he has been at Liverpool, where a lot of other people weren’t, and I thought he got a bit of a raw deal, to be honest, not by Liverpool, but by the media in general.
“I think he is going to be a great player – but where he treads the boards, so to speak, we will have to wait and see.”
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