NEWCASTLE United are ready to end their interest in Charles N’Zogbia as Alan Pardew has reservations about the player’s attitude as well as the size of his wage demands.
Like Sunderland, Newcastle have been quoted a fee of £12m for the France international, double what they sold him to Wigan for two years ago and, although they were willing to pay that sum of money, they have been unimpressed with the player’s stance so far this summer.
The Journal understands N’Zogbia has told suitors he is willing to run down the final 12 months of his contract at Wigan rather than compromise on his wage demands, believed to start at £60,000 a week, which has set alarm bells ringing at St James’ Park.
As many as nine clubs have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old in the last few weeks and N’Zogbia and his advisers are keen to spark a bidding war, with N’Zogbia simply going to the club willing to pay him the most. The United hierarchy are wary of entering into that sort of situation as they have always maintained they only want to sign players who genuinely want to play for them.
Although a massive talent – as he showed in patches during his time on Tyneside – N’Zogbia is a potentially difficult character in the dressing room and United feel he is being “mercenary” in his approach to a summer move.
A senior United source said: “The N’Zogbia situation is turning into a bun fight, there are a lot of clubs in for him and there is a lot of confusion about what his intentions are.
“It seems he is waiting to see who offers him the most money, that is his priority and is that the sort of person we want to play for Newcastle United?
“He is a very talented boy, but is he just a mercenary? We are considering all of these things. We need to have a long hard think about it because it is a lot of money to spend on one player who left under a cloud.”
The Journal has also been told that, while N’Zogbia would return to Newcastle, he is also very keen on the prospect of playing for Steve Bruce again at Sunderland. The Black Cats tried to sign him last summer, tried again in January, and Bruce has always described the winger as his number one target in his own summer rebuilding scheme.
The Wearsiders are trying to cut their wage bill by offloading other high earners to make room for N’Zogbia, although they are also worried about the interest being shown from the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa.
Newcastle, though, appear to have filled the left-wing position with the signing of another France international Sylvain Marveaux at the weekend and Pardew would prefer to keep the £12m needed to land N’Zogbia on a striker.
Newcastle will complete the signing of Swansea left-back Neil Taylor this week, although they will sign another player in that position if, as expected, José Enríque moves elsewhere.
Mevlüt Erdinç is still Newcastle’s main attacking priority, but the Turkish international is unlikely to arrive until next month as Newcastle wait for his club, Paris-Saint Germain to get back to them with a realistic asking price.
The French outfit are understood to be asking for £12m at this stage, even though Erdinç will lose his place in the side next season to former Newcastle target Kevin Gameiro.
United could also land Chelsea’s England Under-21 striker Daniel Sturridge, although the £10m needed to sign him has put an end to negotiations for the time being. Should Chelsea be successful in their pursuit of the Brazilian Neymar, however, talks will resume later in the window.
Meanwhile, Marveaux is delighted to be joining the French contingent at St James’ Park after Hatem Ben Arfa played his part in persuading the 25-year-old to sign for Newcastle when a proposed move to Liverpool faltered. He said: “I am so happy. I have been talking to Newcastle for a long time and it was a club which always interested me. The move happened very quickly.
“The Liverpool transfer did not work out, but this is not a second option – Newcastle are a very big club with a great tradition and my friend Hatem Ben Arfa speaks well of the city, the players and the manager too.
“It is a big club which can be one of the top clubs in Europe and people at the club have been very good with me. I want to repay their faith in me. Now I just want to get started.”