AFTER admitting a 'fantastic offer' was not enough to lure striker Loic Remy to Tyneside, Alan Pardew has described how Newcastle United must make sure of at least two more new signings if they are to climb clear of relegation trouble.
The £5.5m acquisition of Mathieu Debuchy from Lille this month has been overshadowed by the £7.5m departure of leading scorer Demba Ba and the request to leave from skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
Newcastle thought they had done enough to persuade Remy to join Debuchy in swapping Ligue 1 for the Premier League last weekend, only for Queens Park Rangers to come in and trump the £10m deal.
Now Pardew has had to instruct managing director Derek Llambias to work on alternatives. St Etienne's Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Ajax's Siem de Jong are two of the most likely attacking options, while Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis has stated he is in no rush to leave France.
The Newcastle boss is also keen on adding to his defence, with Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara a £2.5m target. There is also work going on behind the scenes to bring in a number of promising youngsters.
It is unlikely there will be a new face before tomorrow's important home date with relegation strugglers Reading. Pardew does, though, think progress needs to be made quickly.
“Going on the fact some of the teams I've put out haven't been strong enough for Newcastle I think we need two more players this month,” said Pardew. “That's been caused by an injury crisis, by Demba's clause, Cheick Tiote's availability. It has put the squad under pressure and we can't take a risk.
“In this particular year, when the UEFA financial fair play rules are coming in, we've done brilliantly to be where we are. We're such a well run club, financially. But we know that we're going to need to invest in our team. We know that other clubs will - if not now, then in the summer.”
He added: “We definitely need a player or two in this window to make sure of our Premier League status. We’re under a little bit of pressure. Our full compliment of players hasn’t been enough for a club of this size.”
Newcastle have also had talks with the agent of Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko this month, along with a long list of other interested clubs. Reports yesterday suggested he was on the verge of a £2.5m switch to Marseille.
But it is the Remy blow which has really left Pardew scratching around. The France striker had indicated a willingness to head for Newcastle only for QPR to offer a more attractive deal until the end of the season.
“We put a lot of work into it. We made his club Marseille an offer that was accepted and made a fantastic offer to the player,” said Pardew. “We’re not going to pay silly money to anybody. We will offer money in the correct way.
"I'm confident I've got an aggressive board. The finance side I don't do but I am as confident as I can be that we are the most aggressive we have been since I've been at the football club.
"I don't think we will get to the panic scenario. That doesn't mean to to say we won't do someone on the last day because you must always leave that open because something could always trigger events.”
The focus is on strengthening because Pardew feels his squad is weaker than bottom club Queens Park Rangers'. Even if Newcastle 'got an extraordinary offer it would be a no' for any of his players, he says.
After the success of attaining a fifth-place finish last season, Pardew does not want to see his squad reduced further when he accepts there is a genuine chance of Championship football returning to St James' Park.
“I think we shouldn't be lost to the fact that we could be relegated,” said Pardew, who revealed defender Steven Taylor is back in the squad for tomorrow's visit of Reading after hamstring trouble.
“I'm experienced enough to know that's an important message, for our fans too. We need our fans to stay loyal and not give up on us during this difficult time. That's what real fans do and they have stayed with us until now.
“Now, this is the critical time in the season where we need to produce on the pitch. We've had some great performances where we've been on the wrong end of the result.
“We've had some great games and played well and been on the wrong end of the result - we need to produce the same performances in the second half of the season but have the diligence to come out with the right result.”