NEWCASTLE United have frozen their summer transfer plans until their Premier League safety is assured.
The Journal understands the Magpies had intended to make a flying start to a summer in which they intended to make wholesale recruitment but that those plans have been mothballed until the club know their fate for the new season.
It remains to be seen whether the club’s flirtation with relegation will have a major impact on managing to land their top targets, but the club are yet to follow up initial discussions with St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – understandable given their precarious Premier League position.
The club also have an interest in Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann and have been scouting in Holland and Belgium for new recruits, but planned transfer summits seem to have been put back until the end of the season.
The club are already planning a major strategic review of the campaign in June which will take in every aspect of the club.
Strengthening the coaching team is one avenue being explored by Alan Pardew, who wants to see more Premier League experience in the squad next season.
At the moment the club have circled the wagons in an attempt to focus on the job in hand.
Recruitment and other matters that would normally be on the agenda at this time of the year have been mothballed until the club have more clarity on which division they will be playing in next year.
But there are a number of big decisions that the club will need to make after the season has finished – not least whether they acquiesce to Fabricio Coloccini’s desire to leave the North East.
The player spoke of his determination to stave off the threat of relegation yesterday morning but skirted around his future, which is still the subject of plenty of scrutiny.
Key figures at the club are apparently resigned to his departure, which nearly happened in January after he made a request to join former club San Lorenzo.
United’s prospects of staying in the division improved dramatically on Tuesday when Swansea did them a major favour by beating Wigan at the DW Stadium but they still go to QPR on Sunday needing more points to ensure
they stay up. The club have not made detailed plans for the financial consequences of relegation and did not insert clauses in the contracts of the players they signed in January to cater for relegation.
The Journal understands Newcastle took the view that they would not be able to sign the players with clauses setting out wage decreases in the event of dropping into the Championship.
That is unlikely to change this summer, with Newcastle confident that if safety is assured they will be able to avoid another flirtation with the drop.
Regardless of the speculation surrounding his own future, the return of Coloccini has been a major bonus for Newcastle in their battle to avoid relegation.
The skipper delivered a classy performance against West Ham and Newcastle will look for a repeat on Sunday.
“We have confidence and know that we have to think only of ourselves, not other teams,” the defender said.
“We are three points above the last (relegation) place. We just have to do our job.
“Then we think about next season. Newcastle has to be in the Premier League.”
The club will hardly welcome comments from former winger David Ginola, however, who said the club’s French players might not be concerned about relegation because they could simply leave in the summer.
He said: “You have to have the right sort of players for that task and I’m not sure that the players are concerned about it.
“The players are thinking, ‘Well, if the club is relegated, then we will leave in the summer’.
“Hopefully they are going to find something to help save the club because Newcastle United and the fans need to stay in the Premier League.
“I hope they are impressing that importance on to them.”