ALAN Pardew is determined to avoid a dose of déjà vu in the transfer window this summer – but the Newcastle United manager is still confident of signing “one or maybe two big players”.
United’s ill-fated tour was interrupted again by a rant by José Enríque on Twitter just moments after landing here in Ohio.
By that time, reserve team left-back Paul Dummett had already set off for the States as a replacement injured Ryan Taylor and the 19-year-old Welsh Under-21 international will figure against Columbus.
Enríque has been unsettled since January, when Andy Carroll quit the club and the unsettled Spaniard said: “The club will never fight for the top six again with his policy.”
Speaking as his team headed for Columbus for the final game of a testing trip to the United States, Pardew said he wants to make sure that United are well covered in the event of Enríque leaving St James’ Park just before the transfer window ccloses – as happened when the Magpies lost Carroll.
Enríque has not been subject of a bid from lopng-time admirers Liverpool yet, but it is clear that the Spaniard is not fully focused on Newcastle.
Pardew, whose side wrap up their tour with a game against Columbus Crew - in the early hours of Wednesday morning UK time, told The Journal: “We have offered him the best contract that has been offered to anyone here for a long while and we cannot do any more, really.
“Obviously if someone comes in before the window closes, with a year left, it would be difficult for us.
“As a manager, of course I want him to stay. The worst thing for us would be if he went late, that’s the problem.
“We are trying to do some business because we need to cover ourselves in that area between now and the end of the window regardless of Enríque.”
“I am confident well get at least one, and maybe two, big players in here.”
Pardew is much more confident of Joey Barton remaining at the club.
The former Manchester City midfielder has been linked with an audacious move to Manchester United. But this was quickly played down by Newcastle sources.
Pardew said: “I think Joey will be here. He has said all along that he wants to stay and I want him to stay, so there is no conflict there.”
Barton, on duty with the development squad in their pre-season trip to Holland after being refused a visa to enter the United States with the first-team tour party, was on target as a United XI beat Dutch Eredivisie side FC Utrecht 3-2 on Saturday. A United side which also included Mike Williamson and Nile Ranger, like Barton a second-half substitute, came from two goals down, with Michael Richardson and Ryan Donaldson – who nettedt the winner – the other scorers.