ALAN Pardew last night revealed he hoped to sign three new players this summer and hinted that a move for former Blackburn Rovers winger Junior Hoilett could be imminent.
The Newcastle United manager also insisted Demba Ba had not indicated he was ready to invoke his well publicised contract clause that would allow him to leave St James’ Park for a bargain £7million fee before the end of this month.
And, while Pardew admitted rival clubs had made discreet enquires about some of his star players, he pledged Newcastle would only sell if offered a massively inflated price for the likes of Papiss Cissé or Yohan Cabaye.
Pardew also didn’t completely rule out the chance of a deal for FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong being resurrected, or indeed a move to bring back Andy Carroll on loan. Although it should be stressed that he was certainly not anywhere close to stating either of these deals would definitely happen.
Pardew said: “I can’t see us bringing in more than three players – and a striker should come into the football club. That would be the third player.”
The St James’ Park boss believes at least one new face would arrive “over the next 14 days” and when asked directly about free agent Hoilett, his admiration for the 22-year-old winger was evident.
He said: “It looks like there is an imminence to him moving, wherever he ends up. So we are keeping a close eye on that because he is a good player.”
Pardew was also relaxed about the prospect of Ba leaving as he claimed that all the Senegalese really wanted was to stay at Newcastle BUT with a guarantee that he will be given a chance to play through the middle.
The Newcastle boss said: “The whole thing with Demba has been a constant.
“Whether that changes, I don’t know. I haven’t seen any (bad) signs with Demba. He has actually trained very well and looks good. I just don’t sense that he wants another club.
“I genuinely don’t see a situation when Demba will stress to me that it’s time to move on and he would like to test some new pastures.
“I think he wanted to get some reassurances from me that he would play in more of a striker’s role and I think he will.
“Demba played a couple of roles last season that were unorthodox for him, but he helped out the team. That’s the kind of person he is, but he does want to play through the middle and score goals. That is what he does best.” And, while Ba’s case is different because of his contract clause, Newcastle will not sell any of their other big names unless someone is willing to pay silly money.
Pardew said: “This isn’t to warn off people, it’s just us saying that they would need to pay an inflated price.
“We are one of the few Premier League clubs fortunate enough to be in a financial position where we can be strong. We haven’t had any bids for our players; we have had a few enquires about who would be available. The answer we have given has been ‘no’.” As well as a striker and Hoilett, Newcastle are also intent on signing a right-back, although reports in France yesterday suggested long-time target Mathieu Debuchy could agree a new extended contract with Lille.
Pardew was unable to say whether the club would look elsewhere if the Frenchman decided to stay where he was.
He conceded that fans would link former favourite Carroll with a move back ‘home’ now it has become clear that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may be willing to send the £35million striker out on loan. West Ham United and AC Milan have expressed an interest, and many Newcastle fans would like to see Carroll back on Tyneside.
Pardew said: “The one thing about this club is that you should never assume anything.
“I am not sure that this (Carroll’s situation) is all played out. There has been a little bit of this and a little bit of that put together. Some people are putting two and two together and making five; not just about us, but about the situation full stop.
“I do not think that is completely resolved one way or the other, so I would not really like to comment. He did an absolutely terrific job here.
“I think he got a bit of a raw deal, not by Liverpool, just the media in general. He is going to be a great player. Where he treads the boards, we will have to wait and see.”
Pardew admitted that the de Jong affair, which saw the striker’s price jacked up from £10m to £16m within a week by FC Twente, had been the one disappointing aspect of his summer.
He said: “That was a setback. We didn’t think the price would go so high.”