NEWCASTLE United are waiting until their Europa League fate is settled before drawing up in-depth plans for the January transfer window.
Despite reports this week linking the club with a renewed approach for long-term target Mathieu Debuchy, The Journal understands that the club’s key powerbrokers will not assemble a detailed transfer blueprint until they know whether they will be playing European football in the New Year.
And that means another chance for United’s crop of young guns to earn a place in the squad which starts the second half of the campaign, with Alan Pardew planning to field a young and inexperienced side in Bordeaux if Newcastle manage to see off Maritimo next week.
The jury is out on the likes of Dan Gosling, Romain Amalfitano, Sylvain Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid, but all four are expected to get opportunities over the next two European games as Pardew considers whether to loan them out or make them available in January to make space for new arrivals.
As for blue-chip signings, Newcastle are yet to whittle down a long list of about 50 priority targets, and have not yet set a budget for incoming transfer business. No offers have been tabled – even for players who have only six months left on their current contracts.
The Journal understands that Mike Ashley is prepared to fund New Year purchases if a business case can be made, with Newcastle also working on a worst-case scenario should a ‘crown jewel’ like Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tioté or Demba Ba be prised away. But specific targets have not yet been identified, with Pardew set to get more time to assess where additions need to be made.
United are famous for their painstaking preparation for each transfer window, and among the many players of interest are Debuchy, France international midfielder Moussa Sissoko and Marseille striker Loic Remy.
Cabaye’s close friend Debuchy is being considered but there remain reservations over his age, with 27 at the very edge of Newcastle’s usual criteria for new arrivals.
Scouts were again out in force over the international week, with Pardew himself running the rule over Holland’s prestige friendly with Germany and United represented at the games between Ivory Coast and Austria and the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
As United’s transfer plans remain in limbo, the club hope to get a boost on the field against Swansea this afternoon.
Pardew is desperate for the win that would answer some of the criticism that has come the team’s way since their defeat against West Ham last weekend. Much is being pinned on the return of Cheick Tiote from suspension, with Pardew telling the Ivory Coast international that his “season starts here”.
“Cheick’s season starts this weekend, until January 4 when he goes away or whenever it is. He is a massive player for us,” Pardew said.
“His best form will come from more games. It’s just about giving him games, getting him back to his best. He loves to train but he really loves to play, so we might play him in three of the four games coming up.
“He has to free himself up. The sending-off in the derby is going to affect him. My chat will be to say ‘Come on Cheick, let’s get you back to your best’.
“He will pick up bookings, that’s what he does, but we need him to control the silly tackles. Slightly mistimed tackles are what we can handle.”