For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Magpies fear the worst over Gomis deal, but remain hopeful
NEWCASTLE UNITED remain hopeful of signing Bafetimbi Gomis, but are preparing for the worst after Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas cast doubt over his move.
The Magpies had hoped to have their second summer signing in by the end of this week after agreeing a fee and terms ahead of Gomis' transfer, but Aulas revealed he was pessimistic it would go ahead.
The Lyon chief has complained to the French football league over the interference of a third party, believed to be Marseille, accusing them of trying to hijack Newcastle's move for the 28-year-old while negotiations were taking place.
The French FPL will now investigate Aulas' claims, leaving the Magpies and the player in limbo over the proposed move.
A statement from the governing body read: "If there is proof, there will be a debate before the commission.
"Mr Aulas says that during negotiations between the representatives of Bafetimbi Gomis and Newcastle, Olympique de Marseille intervened to make contact with the player and his agents without having warned Lyon, something which the text of the regulation sets out.
"And, as a result, if the negotiations with Newcastle should collapse, it would be Marseille's fault."
The Northern Echo understands Newcastle remain hopeful of landing their man, but the longer the saga goes on, the chances of completing the deal will diminish.
Pardew admitted after his side's 1-1 friendly draw with Rangers on Tuesday that their summer business could stretch right until the last hours of the transfer window, but with Loic Remy likely to miss the start of the season, the Magpies boss will surely want another forward in sooner rather than later.
That could see their interest in Aston Villa's Darren Bent resurrected, but with other clubs tracking the England international, waiting for the outcome of the Gomis saga could see them miss out on him too.
Whether Joe Kinnear can get another forward in remains to be seen, but Jonas Gutierrez has warned any new signing that they will have to work hard to earn their place in the side.
He said: "He's (Remy) going to be a good striker for us, but it will be hard for him to play, because Papiss (Cisse) has been doing the right things and has been working hard.
"There's going to be more competition this year and all the strikers are going to have to work hard because players will arrive and they will want to go straight into the team.
"We are always going to give a good welcome to any players that come in. We are keen to do our best and every player wants to be in the starting XI. All the players want the same and if new players are going to come we have to work harder to keep our places."
The squad has spent the last few weeks working on areas they felt contributed to their struggle last season and Pardew has sought help from performance director Faye Downey to try and improve the levels of fitness and cut the amount of long-term injuries.
Already, Pardew feels the squad is in far better shape than they were 12 months ago and Gutierrez insists they will not make the same mistakes twice.
"The point of pre-season is to work hard to really start the season well and try to get the legs fresh for Manchester City, because at this time in pre-season you need to start and feel the ball, whilst at the same time still working hard.
"I would say seasons are always different. Last year we didn't expect to finish in that position but we had the Europa League and that was the first time a lot of our players were involved in that competition and a league.
"It was hard and something new for a lot of players but the good thing is we stayed in the Premier League and we have time to look forward to the new season and make sure we don't make the same mistakes again.
"To have the right preparation and to have all the group fit is key, because last year we started without some players and we finished without some.
"We had to sign five players in January because we had a lot of players injured. We know in football injuries are going to happen so now the most important thing is to get everyone fit and make sure if somebody does get injured, someone else is ready to come in and do the same job, if not better."
Meanwhile, young midfielder Connor Newton has re-joined St Mirren on a six-month loan deal.