ALAN PARDEW will hold detailed transfer talks with Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear this week as Newcastle's January dealings begin to come to a head.
The issue of a new striker will be at the top of the agenda, but the trio are also expected to discuss Steven Taylor's Tyneside future and the potential need for additional defensive cover when they hold the first of two planned January summits.
Secretary Lee Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr are also expected to be involved in the meeting, which was planned long before Newcastle were knocked out of the FA Cup at the hands of Cardiff City last weekend.
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While Newcastle's chief power brokers are in regular contact throughout the season, it is rare that they clear their diaries to hold face-to-face talks.
“It's an important time for me, Joe and Mike to talk,” said Pardew. “Lee Charnley is involved in that process as well, and us four, along with Graham Carr, will be having a couple of meetings during the month to bring everything together.
“We're all fielding different types of phone calls, so we need to bring everything together and see where we're at. We'll probably do that (this) week, then perhaps again towards the end of the window.”
Having already conceded that Newcastle are short of attacking options, Pardew will seek some clarification over Loic Remy's future when he meets with Ashley and Kinnear.
When the striker moved to St James' Park in the summer, a three-way agreement was broached between Newcastle and QPR officials, and Remy's representatives, which paved the way for a potential permanent deal pegged at £8m, the price of Remy's buy-out clause.
However, with doubts surrounding Remy's potential availability given the rape charge that was hanging over him at the time, and with QPR keen to cover their own backs in case they achieved promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, it is understood that all parties have the right to effectively pull the plug on the deal.
Therefore, while Newcastle are in a strong position when it comes to negotiating Remy's future, it is not as simple as triggering an automatic clause in the contract that took the France international to the North-East.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp has already drawn a line under Remy's time at Loftus Road, and is unlikely to want the striker back even if his side win promotion.
He would like to spark a bidding war involving more clubs than Newcastle though, and has attempted to pile pressure on the Magpies by expressing surprise at their failure to discuss a permanent deal in the first half of the season.
“I don't know what the deal is,” said Redknapp. “You'd think they'd want to snap him up, wouldn't you? If they don't, then someone else will.
“For what we got him for, he's probably worth double that now. He's scored goals in the Premier League again this year.
“Would we want him in the Premier League? That's all ifs and buts. You've got to get there first, and if someone came and offered £15m or £16m for him, I'd sell him if it was my choice. But it's not, it's down to the chairman.”
Taylor is another player with an uncertain future, as new Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is lining up a formal offer for the centre-half.
Earlier this month, Pardew claimed Taylor would be going nowhere in the current transfer window, and Fabricio Coloccini's knee injury has only increased the 27-year-old's importance in the Magpies ranks.
However, he has only made one Premier League appearance all season, and Ashley, who is pondering whether to strengthen his interest in Montpellier's £12m-rated attacking midfielder Remy Cabella, could opt to cash in if he is presented with a cash offer.
Taylor is unlikely to retain his place when Newcastle entertain Manchester City on Sunday, with Mike Williamson expected to return to partner Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa after sitting out the FA Cup defeat. Tim Krul should be available, but Yohan Cabaye is yet to return to training and faces a late fitness test.