ALAN Pardew has admitted that want-away Jose Enrique’s desire to quit St James’ Park in search of Champions League football has left Newcastle United’s transfer plans in limbo.
Unlike “committed” Joey Barton, Pardew says Enrique’s focus is trained on finding a new club that can fulfil his desire to play in Europe. The Spanish defender has refused to sign a new contract leaving Pardew to admit his left-back provisions for next season are in a “mess”.
With Pardew determined not to lose Enrique on deadline day, it leaves United with some tough decisions to make when they return from their US tour at the end of the month.
Enrique will board the plane for Kansas on Sunday morning but he does so with huge question marks surrounding his future – leaving Pardew a frustrated man. He counted United out of the race for Aston Villa-bound Charlie N’Zogbia yesterday, while also admitting that Neil Taylor – the man slated to be back up to Enrique – will stay at Swansea after a signing a bumper new four-year contract in South Wales.
On a more optimistic note, The Journal understands United have around £8million budgeted for a new striker but further incomings will depend on moving players out of the club. Ironically Enrique is one of the players they do not want to lose but if they are forced to sell him then it will change the game again – allowing Pardew finances to bring in a replacement left-back and another attacking player.
“We have made Jose an offer which is one of the best offers we have ever made a player, and he doesn’t want to sign as yet, so it gives us a problem,” he said.
“It is not ideal for us as you can imagine. It is a difficult situation.”
Asked why United were making such stringent efforts to keep Enrique while Barton’s contract will be left for later in the season, Pardew admitted that his star defender has left the club in little doubt about his intentions.
“I think the big reason at the moment that there is a slight difference between the two is that Joey seems pretty focused on Newcastle,” he said.
“The noises coming out of Jose’s camp are that he wants to get a new club playing Champions League football.
“We cannot offer him that at the moment so that seems to be his focus.
“Hopefully that will change – it is a moving feast.
“We have got to be ready because if he goes, it is going to leave a big hole in the team and we need to fill it quickly. But he does travel to the United States.”
Meanwhile Pardew – who attempted to clarify the club’s position with regards to the £35million windfall from the Andy Carroll sale – said that the club are currently involved in negotiations for a striker.
That is Mevlut Erdinc, with United desperate to find a quick resolution in a “difficult” market.
“I don’t really want to mention names, but all strikers who are available we are keeping a close eye on,” he said.
“It’s important that we keep bolstering the team as best we can.
“We have obviously been looking for a striker – we are still bidding for a striker as we speak – so we are doing all we can to get the right players for Newcastle.
“It’s not easy, it’s not an easy market - strikers are always the most difficult to get across the line – but we are working hard on it.”
:: WEST Ham are poised to sign former Chelsea and Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.
The 32-year-old Iceland international is due to undergo a medical ahead of a move to Upton Park on a free transfer after he was released by Stoke at the end of last season.
Premier League newcomers Swansea were also interested in Gudjohnsen, but he is set to sign a one-year deal to link up with new Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.