Newcastle United will step up their hunt for a left-sided midfielder this week after Alan Pardew revealed that Jonas Gutierrez will be missing for up to four weeks.
The Gutierrez injury is another blow to Pardew, who is set to again be without Yohan Cabaye for the must-win West Ham match this afternoon.
The Journal understands the midfielder is out of the game as the fall-out from Arsenal’s ï¿½10million offer continues to unsettle the France midfielder, who is training on his own. That is a further blow for United, who need a resolution on the Cabaye situation fast as they plot their next move in the transfer market. Despite reports the club have no plans at present to revisit the Bafetimbi Gomis chase – and are lukewarm on Lyon team-mate Yoann Gourcuff too.
Pardew is predicting a ‘four-week break’ for Gutierrez, which strengthens his case to sign a left-sided midfielder.
The United boss admits he had been keen to sign Stewart Downing, who comes to St James’ with West Ham today.
In the short-term, Pardew will take on the next run of fixtures without the experienced Gutierrez. The United manager said: “Jonas, we think, will be out for three to four weeks. He had a problem before training but he trained Thursday and Friday and we assumed he would be okay.”
On alert for West Ham’s own new wide man, Pardew betrayed his own feeling that Newcastle could do with adding some width to their play.
“Stewart Downing was a player I liked and I thought he was a possibility for us. He crosses a ball, that’s what I like about him,” he said. Pardew welcomes
back Davide Santon for the West Ham game, with Paul Dummett to step back on to the substitute’s bench despite a stirring debut against Manchester City.
Dummett’s pre-season form put him in contention to start at Manchester City, and he is now part of Pardew~s first-team plans after impressing the coaching team with his professionalism.
But Pardew intends to play his international full-back in that role against West Ham.
He said: “Santon is OK, so that’s some good news there. Dummett did terrific on Monday but Davide takes precedence over him at left-back at the moment.
“It’s not a bad scenario to have both available and a little bit of confidence on Dummett’s part to come on in those circumstance and come through it pretty well.”
Newcastle face an early crossroads in their season against West Ham after a calamitous start to the season at the Etihad on Monday. Pardew insists they will be prepared after giving his players 24 hours off.
He said: “We had Tuesday off. We all needed a breather. It was like one event after another. An injury, a sending-off, the Cabaye situation, then the final result.
“The quality of opposition was a bit of a shock as well. I have been on that sideline (as Newcastle manager) 100 times and that was as good as I have seen.
“We are really in recovery mode, physically, from that game because it was Monday night and we had ten players playing for 45 minutes against 11 so we had to work that little bit harder.
“I do think we will be OK on Saturday in terms of our levels. We will be ready to go and hope to get a win against a West Ham team who on paper, have improved considerably from last year.”
There is pressure on United to offer more going forward than they did on Monday, with Hatem Ben Arfa set to be given licence to roam once more by Pardew.
“I think Hatem is going to be a big player for us, and at times on Monday night he showed exactly how good he can be against top- class opposition,” he said.
“He unlocked the door a couple of times and hopefully in the next two games he will see even more of the ball to have an even bigger impact - but he is a big player for us.”