Alan Pardew mounted a surprising public defence of Joe Kinnear’s recruitment efforts yesterday as pressure grew on Newcastle United’s director of football to justify his position.
Having earlier declined a request from The Journal to speak, the Newcastle boss then released a statement through the club in which he said the club had done the majority of their business in January.
Newcastle’s attempt to repair the damage of their transfer-window travails saw Pardew put himself in the firing line by defending the club’s summer business.
The United boss said that the club approach the rest of the season in an “optimistic frame of mind” and with a “strong squad” – although it must be noted that the mood among supporters dismayed by a lack of business is anything but optimistic.
Throughout the window Pardew had spoken of his hope to get at least one more striker into the club, but he took the shock step of rowing back on that yesterday afternoon, saying that many of the options offered to the club were not as good as the squad they already had. Elsewhere there was silence from Newcastle officials as the vacuum created by Derek Llambias’ summer departure was exposed.
While Llambias might have sought to justify the club’s summer business there was no sign of Kinnear – who has barely spent any time in Newcastle this summer.
He was said to be in France by a national radio station that was attempting to make contact with United’s director of football, and he is facing a fans’ backlash after a calamitous summer.
The Journal understands that Mike Ashley was prepared to release significant funds in the summer and sanctioned moves for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bafetimbi Gomis during the close season.
They also made enquiries about Tom Ince, Toby Alderweireld and Josuha Guilavogui – although many of those moves depended on players going out, such as Yohan Cabaye.
After being turned down – or seeing the move collapse due to player demands or the fee demanded by the selling club – Kinnear was unable to supply alternative names.
Ashley has come in for fierce criticism in the hours following the close of the transfer window, but those close to him say he has no intention of selling up despite an unsuccessful summer and the calamitous decision to bring in Kinnear. They say takeover rumours can be dismissed.
Indeed he is understood to have asked his transfer team to come up with a list of under-20 players who will strengthen the club – proof, according to those close to him, that he is not actively looking for a buyer.
If that is the case, though, the summer window must go down as another huge misjudgement. Kinnear’s own position is under scrutiny and those within the club are waiting to see exactly what his role will entail now that the summer window has shut.
Pardew offered a surprise defence of the club’s business in January.
In a club-sanctioned statement, he said: “We are delighted to have brought Loïc Remy to the club in this window and we believe he will form an exciting and effective partnership with Papiss Cissé. Joe has worked hard on numerous targets, particularly an additional offensive player.
“However, some of the options that were available within our financial means were not as good as the players we already had and there is no point bringing in new players unless they can improve us and take us forward.
“We did the majority of our business in the January window, signing five excellent first-team players. With the strong squad we have we should all approach the season in a positive, optimistic frame of mind.”