Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Pardew calls for backing in striker search
ALAN Pardew has urged Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to support his attempts to sign an attacking replacement for Demba Ba this month.
Pardew met with managing director Derek Llambias and club secretary Lee Charnley yesterday to discuss the Magpies' response to Ba's £7.5m move to Chelsea, which will be formally confirmed later today.
The trio have drawn up a shortlist of potential attacking signings, but have conceded that it will not be easy to land any of their targets before the transfer window closes in four weeks time.
Marseille striker Loic Remy remains their preferred option, but the France international is unlikely to leave the Stade Velodrome for less than £10m, while St Etienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bordeaux's Yoan Gouffran are being considered as alternatives.
With Ba's departure having taken place in the opening week of the transfer window, the fear is that clubs will be well aware of Newcastle's need for a striker and raise their asking prices accordingly.
In the past, Ashley has refused to be drawn into a bidding war for a number of targets, but Pardew is hoping the sportswear magnate will pull out all the stops to ensure his club's attacking resources are replenished before the end of the month.
“He has (been supportive) and he has to be even more supportive in this window,” said the Newcastle boss, who has no interest in Peter Odemwingie despite being linked with the West Brom forward earlier this week. “He has to find the extra money for the striker. We're not going to buy a striker for the money we've received for Demba.
“There are a couple of options for me. One in particular plays on the side, which would push (Yohan) Cabaye forward to play in a loose number ten role, which is a role in which he's done very well for us in the past. He will definitely find a moment or two for Papiss (Cisse).
“But if we find a striker or a wide player, he needs to be a recognised goalscorer. That's important. In the options we have, there are a couple of strikers-stroke-wide players, and a couple of strikers we think would link up well with Papiss.”
While a new centre-forward became a priority the moment Chelsea triggered Ba's contractual release clause, the concession of 13 goals in Newcastle's last three league games has underlined the need for defensive additions.
Mathieu Debuchy successfully completed a medical yesterday, and his £5.5m move from Lille should be confirmed this morning. He will not be involved in tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie at Brighton, but should make his Newcastle debut in the following weekend's Premier League game at Norwich.
Debuchy's arrival will hasten the departure of Danny Simpson, who has been courted by both Fulham and West Ham, but there is also a strong need for a new centre-half to complement Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor, who should return from injury before the end of the month.
However, Pardew admits the rest of his January transfer dealings will effectively be placed on hold until it becomes clear just how much money will have to be committed to the acquisition of a new striker.
“All of that's going to depend a lot on how much the striker costs us,” he admitted. “So that's something I think we'll come to later in the window.
“The return to fitness of Steven Taylor and getting Debuchy has helped us massively, but I still think another one is perhaps what we need.”
The deal for Debuchy was agreed at the end of last month, although the France international had hoped to move to Tyneside last summer before Newcastle officials broke off negotiations with their counterparts at Lille when the French club's asking price rose on three separate occasions.
Back then, the full-back had been set to join a club who had just finished fifth. Now, he finds himself with new employers whose overriding priority is to avoid relegation.
“I saw him (after the Everton game) and it was difficult to explain to him the situation we're in,” said Pardew. “In the summer when he was coming, he probably thought we were going to be a top-eight side.
“It was a little bit of a different conversation, but nevertheless he understands we've had some unusual conditions this year and if we can get our best team out there, there's no doubt we've got a great side.
“We just need to get that side out there quickly. His addition is going to help because that's a key area for us at the back. He will improve our distribution and defend that side of the pitch as well as anybody.”