ALAN Pardew is adamant that Newcastle United are being as “aggressive” as any of their Premier League rivals in the transfer window – and says deals for their preferred targets won’t be torpedoed on price or wage grounds.
United supporters fear their pursuit of striker target Loic Remy is becoming a drawn-out process, and Pardew admits that there will not be any further arrivals before tomorrow’s critical trip to Norwich.
Newcastle have not counted themselves out of the Remy deal despite his Marseille team-mate Joey Barton telling a United supporter on his Twitter account that the striker had opted to stay at the Stade Velodrome.
United suspect Remy’s advisers are stalling to see if other offers are forthcoming, but were given encouragement that he would be prepared to talk terms.
It is a slow process, and each passing day hardly breeds confidence that United will strike again in a window that appears critical to their chances of drawing clear of the relegation fight.
In the absence of quotes from United’s negotiating team it falls to Pardew to defend a transfer policy which he argues is not about trying to do things on the cheap. That defence comes with the admission that new faces are needed to re-energise a city jaded by the fortunes of their football team.
“Yes they do need new faces – as well as the senior players we’ve got coming back in,” he said.
“It will be good to have Cabaye, who is a top player, one of the best in Europe in my opinion, who’s fresh and rested, who knows the environment and the way we play.
“We play a lot of our football through him and he is perhaps the best news we’ve had. But we do need players. It’s been obvious on this run, we’ve had an extended injury list, but even without that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to rest players when they needed to rest.
“Therefore, we accept that we didn’t do enough in the summer and we need to do it now. We’ve made it clear we regret that.”
He said that Newcastle are unlikely to be outbid on either fees or wages by any of their rivals.
“I don’t think that will happen,” he said. And he added that outside the top four, hardly any clubs will be prepared to blow their budget during the rest of the month.
“Not a lot of clubs are more flexible, there are only a handful. I would suggest we are being as aggressive in this window as anyone.
“We’re aggressive in the field we are in. I still think senior players coming here on large salaries is not our area, but we are being aggressive in the area we are in.”
Pardew also said that United’s ongoing work in the transfer market was not a sign of them being “negligent”. He said: “We’ve done our homework. You can’t force someone to agree a contract, you can only put your best case forward and your best offer forward and go from there.”
He explained that the delay any deals was probably down to the player waiting to see if other options emerged.
He said: “If you put yourself in the position of the agent and you have a player that is desirable, and a really good club comes in and a lesser side comes in as well, you sometimes have the impression, because of the interest and the media coverage, that an even bigger one will come in for your player. So why sign early? Even if terms have been agreed, they are waiting to see if a more attractive project becomes available. No matter what finance you throw at the deal, sometimes everybody just wants to sit and wait.”
Meanwhile, Pardew has confirmed that Hatem Ben Arfa is back at the French football federation’s headquarters at Clairefontaine as part of his recovery from a hamstring injury.
“It’s better, we’ve had some good news,” he said. “He’s running and we will only bring him back when his rehab is complete. We’re not talking many weeks.”