ALAN Pardew insists he is "100 per cent" content to head into the rest of 2012 without further addition to or reduction of his existing Newcastle United squad.
The summer transfer window closes at 11pm tomorrow and while the Magpies boss has played down renewed talk of Andy Carroll returning, Pardew admits he will rest more easily if the deadline passes without the loss of “our best players”.
United – who Pardew says are simply maintaining a watching brief across the transfer market – have been preparing for tonight’s Europa League clash with Greek side Atromitos amid fresh speculation linking them to Carroll.
The club had an offer – believed to be in the region of £12-13million – to take the 23-year-old on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal rejected by Liverpoool in mid-July.
The Reds bought the striker from United for £35m in January 2011, and are determined to claw back nearer £20m before releasing him.
Carroll himself is understood to be keen on a return to Tyneside, though he remains open-minded about his future.
However, while he declined to confirm any deal may be “dead”, when asked yesterday if the “Carroll situation was still on the table”, Pardew replied: “Not as far as I’m aware, no. I’ve always said it’s not really down to me.
“Would I want him in my squad? Of course I would. Probably every Premier League manager in the country would want him in their squad.
“But can the business deal be done? That’s nothing to do with me.” Pushed further as to whether United are actively seeking further reinforcements, he added: “Not really. I think we’re just watching the market and seeing if anything pops its head up to see if it’s appealing to us.
“We know the ones we’re watching and if they decide to move or there is a movement on them then we might trigger ourselves, but at the moment the targets we have are all very much secure at their clubs.”
Knowing that and situations regarding his own players can change swiftly on transfer deadline day, Pardew said: “I lost Andy Carroll on the last day of the January window so no, I can never rest easy. But I want to keep the great players we’ve got, who we worked very hard to bring to the football club, not just on the scouting side, but in selling the club to the players, players like (Vurnon) Anita coming here from Ajax, a team in the Champions League, to come to Newcastle.
“This isn’t an easy thing to do. We want to keep our best players and we’re trying very hard to make sure that we do that.”
Asked if he would be happy to continue beyond the window with his squad as it is, Pardew added: “100 per cent.” Meanwhile, the United boss has revealed he shares Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez’s frustration with the timing of the transfer window.
“The window should be shut when the season starts because I think we have a slight disadvantage,” argued Pardew.
“When bigger clubs can turn a player’s head, teams like ourselves and our players cannot completely focus until that window shuts.
“The top clubs, if you are at Manchester United, is a bigger club going to come in?
“I doubt it, so they have a more settled period and that is an advantage to them.
“The likes of Wigan and the lesser clubs, it is a problem for them and I sympathise.
“I think he (Martinez) is absolutely correct in what he says.
“The window should be shut.
“There is plenty of time in the summer to make deals and it should shut when we kick off.”