NEWCASTLE United want to sign another senior striker before the transfer window closes on Friday – and have drawn up a list of Continental alternatives to their priority target Andy Carroll.
Alan Pardew is lobbying hard for United to bring in another forward to supplement his crop of strikers, which has been reduced by a hamstring injury to Shola Ameobi that could rule him out for several more weeks.
Newcastle’s pool of forwards is not as deep as Pardew would like, and he wants another forward to put pressure on Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
United lost Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best over the summer and there is still a significant chunk of the transfer war-chest put aside by Mike Ashley for transfers to spend.
Carroll remains the player that United want but any deal is likely to be left until the eleventh hour, as the brinkmanship between Newcastle and Liverpool continues. Newcastle are now the only credible party ready to offer Carroll a route out of Anfield but Liverpool want more than the £15million that is United’s maximum offer.
That has encouraged Newcastle – who retain a strong interest in long-term defensive targets Mathieu Debuchy and Douglas – to source alternatives in their key markets in France and Holland.
With the deadline looming it is a difficult balancing act for Pardew and Derek Llambias this week, and the club is braced for five days of intense speculation over their own star names.
Cheick Tiote was linked with Arsenal over the weekend but The Journal has been told by one of his representatives that there have been no formal offers for the midfielder, with the Ivorian happy and settled on Tyneside.
That will be a relief to the club, but they have been informed through third parties of interest in both Fabricio Coloccini and Yohan Cabaye, prompting them to draw up contingency plans in case either star man leaves.
A senior source yesterday contended that it was “unlikely” that Newcastle would lose either player, but stopped short of ruling it out.
It is a concern that Arsenal – who have seen their spending power boosted by the sales of Robin van Persie and Alexander Song – are being linked with Cabaye.
The France midfielder is also interesting Tottenham but for the moment at least, Newcastle’s valuation is likely to be prohibitive.
However, aware that it is United’s policy to review contracts in their second year, Cabaye’s representatives will no doubt encourage any interest as it strengthens their hand when the parties eventually get around the table again.
The French midfielder certainly doesn’t sound like a player ready to move on, having encouraged Newcastle to continue to build on last season’s remarkable fifth-placed finish.
Although he knows that it will be difficult to match their achievements – something proved by the defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday – he feels there is enough quality in the squad for them to do it.
He said: “It will be harder to do that this year. We have to show everyone that it wasn’t a one-off, to play like a good team.
“We have some really good players and I think we can do the same thing. But it’s going to be hard, we know that, if we don’t keep our standards up, if we don’t keep working like we always have done.”