ALAN PARDEW admits Newcastle United will make life harder for themselves in the summer if they fail to make any signings during this month’s transfer window.
Pardew has held a number of discussions with Magpies owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear this week, but despite an ongoing interest in Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong and Montpellier midfielder Remy Cabella, the trio are yet to make an offer for anyone.
While Pardew is keen to strengthen his squad, Ashley is understood to be much more sceptical about the potential for value in the current transfer window, and with Newcastle ensconced in the top half of the table, there is a strong chance there will be no new arrivals at St James’ Park ahead of the January 31 transfer deadline.
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Newcastle did not make a single permanent purchase last summer, with Loic Remy the only signing on a season-long loan from QPR, so if there is no new addition this month, the club will have gone almost a year-and-a-half without a full-time acquisition by the time the summer transfer window arrives.
By that stage, the squad could be in urgent need of improvement with a handful of departures likely, and Pardew admits it would not be ideal to be chasing two or three big-money deals in the close season.
“I think the group is a good one, and we have proved that,” said the Newcastle boss, ahead of tomorrow’s televised home game with title-chasing Manchester City. “But you want to improve and I want my team to improve.
“Therefore, I think there has to be transfer activity at some stage. I would not want it to go to the summer, but if that is the case then for sure, we would have some work to do in the summer because we would have to look at two or three players I should think.
“We have got ourselves a good base, and that is important. (We don’t have to be) really kind of forceful with what we are doing because we are not in a position of negativity like last year, and like one or two clubs find themselves in now. We haven’t got that pressure on us, but having said that, I still want to bring a player in.”
Last January, Newcastle were compelled to act in the transfer market because of their perilous league position, with Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran all arriving to reinforce a squad that were struggling in 15th at the turn of the year.
Debuchy and Sissoko in particular made positive contributions as the Magpies eventually finished two places clear of the drop zone, but even Pardew has conceded that the five new arrivals only really began to find their feet at the start of the current campaign.
The majority of overseas arrivals need time to settle, so rather than purchasing players in the summer, there is an argument that Newcastle should be recruiting them now so they can use the second half of the current campaign to begin to bed into the team.
That process should be easier with United in the top half of the table, but while Pardew agrees it would be ideal to make purchases now, the January market is a notoriously difficult one to navigate.
This month’s discussions have already led Newcastle in a number of different directions, with Borussia Monchengladbach officials understood to have been especially contradictory when discussing de Jong’s future.
“Ideally for a manager, I’d say it would be better (to sign players) now, but obviously the problem you have in this window is that clubs are very, very reluctant to sell,” said Pardew. “That is the big problem.
“Everyone is feeling, ‘If we do that, are we able to replace?’ So you get a lot of miscommunication from other clubs. ‘Yes’, then ‘No’, then ‘Yes we are back on’, then ‘No’ again.
“This happens all the way, and not just for us, but for all the clubs until the last week or so. It has been very quiet so far, not just for Newcastle, but right across the Premier League. But I do think there will be action in the last week.”
Whether that action involves the departure of Yohan Cabaye remains to be seen, although Pardew insists he is unconcerned at reports suggesting the Frenchman could look to buy out the final two years of his contract in the summer.
Article 17 of FIFA’s transfer statutes – known as the Webster rule – dictates that any player can buy themselves out of the final two years of their contract, an arrangement which would cost Cabaye around £6m. In theory, Cabaye could then recoup that fee from another club, who would be able to sign him as a free agent.
“It doesn’t worry me,” said Pardew. “The point that is being raised is something that has been raised at an international level – it’s not isolated to Yohan Cabaye.
“Whether that’s possible, I don’t know, it’s not my department if I am honest. The most important thing is that he has two years left on his contract in the summer and we are looking forward to him playing for Newcastle for the rest of this season, and we will take it from there in the summer.”