ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United do not require “major surgery” to challenge for a Champions League place this season.
And his cause was helped by the passing of Demba Ba’s well-publicised contract clause last night, which means United’s top scorer is now almost certain to start next season in black and white.
The striker could leave for under £8million but there were no firm offers for the player, who could have banked millions himself from a transfer, within the window of opportunity.
To his credit Ba never agitated for a move and there have already been preliminary talks on extending his St James’ Park contract – although they have not been formalised yet.
With Ba on board and United still interested in doing a triple deal for Andy Carroll, Vurnon Anita and defender Mathieu Debuchy, Pardew is satisfied with the squad that he will take into the season.
In particular he feels Newcastle have the “product” in their squad to move the team into top four contention – it is just about bringing in something “different” to give them an added edge.
“We’ve got the product now – it’s not like we need to make ground-breaking changes now like we did last year,” he told The Journal.
“In my view we needed to make those changes last year. We’ve done them, we’ve done the major surgery that we needed to do and now the priority is something different.
“It is about bringing in a little bit of quality to improve the squad.”
That pinch of quality may still include Liverpool and England striker Carroll, who is set to resist the lure of West Ham United despite Sam Allardyce tabling a loan bid for the forward.
Carroll’s preference is understood to be either staying at Anfield to fight for his place or returning to Newcastle, where he still spends a good deal of his personal time.
And despite Ba opting to stay on Tyneside, Newcastle are still interested in a move for Carroll as they feel an additional striker is required to cover them for a fight on four fronts. They feel the England man is the right age for them, although they want to sign him on an initial season-long loan before making any deal permanent.
United did make an addition to their squad yesterday as they moved to recruit 19-year-old Australian defender Curtis Good from Melbourne Heart.
The left-footed centre-back signed a six-year deal in a strong indication of the faith that Newcastle have in the player, who impressed Pardew during a two-week trial at the end of last season.
He will initially join the development squad but will be considered for first-team action – and he is set to join the Newcastle party that heads to Holland to play Den Haag on Saturday afternoon.
Newcastle thanked Melbourne for their “professionalism and co-operation” throughout the transfer, which has seen United spend a reported £400,000 to clinch the deal.
Good certainly left with the blessing of Melbourne Heart, whose manager Jon Aloisi wished the young defender all the best.
“Newcastle United is one of the biggest clubs in the United Kingdom, and we are absolutely delighted he has the opportunity to test his wares on such a stage,” he told Heart’s website.
“While Curtis will certainly be missed, his proposed transfer is a great affirmation of our youth policy, and a demonstration of the club’s ability to assist in developing players to such an extent that they’re able to move to one of Europe’s leading competitions.”