NEWCASTLE United’s struggles will not cause them to redraw their January transfer blueprint, insists Alan Pardew.
And that means a striker recruit has been pushed down the transfer window agenda, with the need for two new centre-backs now appearing to have taken priority.
Ajax’s Belgium international Jan Vertonghen is understood to be a target, while West Ham United’s James Tomkins has been the subject of an offer in excess of £3m that was turned down last week.
Pardew says the club will not be panicked into tearing up plans that have been place for months – even if he acknowledges that January can be a chaotic, unpredictable month.
“No, it hasn’t,” he said when asked if the current winless run had affected the team.
“We know in the transfer window that a defender would be very, very helpful at the moment. Certainly (we could do with) a centre-half because we need a bit more presence in the back-four.
“Williamson has been training again and he looks like he’s getting closer and I think he’ll be a big asset for us when he’s up and running again, but we might need another one because if we lose Williamson or Colo, we’ll look like we’re short.
“Generally I think we’re having to look at our squad because we’re stretched, especially defensively. We have made some calls to try and find out who is available.
“Its a difficult window to get a good player when people don’t want to lose their good players. It’s not just difficult for us, it’s difficult for every team. You locate a player, then they’ve got to get a replacement – and is another first-team going to let them go? There’s a knock-on effect.
“It’s a difficult window, we’ll have to see how it pans out.”
Pardew has not ruled out trying to recruit a striker in this window, but it is clear that in the wake of Modibo Maiga failing a medical, attacking reinforcements will be harder to recruit.
United have watched Moussa Sow and Luuk de Jong over the past few months and do have an interest in Wilfried Zaha, of Crystal Palace. But the £10m that Palace are trying to extract in January – for a player yet to play top-flight football – is pretty absurd.
Pardew admits that getting value in January is difficult, which will make their hunt for a forward even tougher.
“It’s just whether you’re going to get value in this market with a striker. I think that was proven last year, it’s difficult to get in this market,” he said.
Of his existing players, Pardew feels that if he solves the “structural problems” posed by the loss of Steven Taylor he will be able to correct their form.
Suggestions that confidence is flat-lining are comprehensively dismissed by the United boss. “I don’t think confidence has been a problem,” he said. “I thought the crowd got a little bit edgy and that sort of spread to us to a degree, but I thought it was more structural problems in the team.
“We weren’t as solid as we have been even without Steven Taylor and we’ve got to get back to that.
“If we get back to that we won’t be far away. We’ve got a goalscorer in the team who’s red hot, so that always gives you a chance to win games.”
He also suggested there was an “edginess” about the crowd – but didn’t feel they need to be lectured about the stage the team is at.
“No, I think they’re educated enough. I just feel that it was an overspill from Swansea,” he said. “They don’t have a glamorous name and I think we were expected to win that and then West Brom were coming and so we must win that, there was a bit of that going on.
“If we get beat by Bolton and get beat at Liverpool and then we come to Man United, our fans will still be roaring us on.
“They’ll know that we’re going to need them. So I don’t see that as an issue.”
Davide Santon is set for a scan today on his injured knee.
The club fear a build-up of fluid in the knee – which would require a routine procedure that would rule him out of the trip to Bolton.