ALAN PARDEW maintains there is still a “good chance” of Loic Remy making a permanent move to Newcastle United this summer.
Remy's loan deal from QPR is due to expire at the end of the season, with a number of Europe's leading clubs having expressed an interest in acquiring the striker, who is due to return from a six-game injury absence in tomorrow's home game with Swansea City.
Atletico Madrid were the latest club to be linked with Remy this week, with the Spaniards joining a list of sides that already includes Arsenal, Tottenham and Monaco.
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Given the quality of the competition they will face, it had been assumed that Newcastle would have little chance of retaining their leading goalscorer.
However, after working with the 27-year-old at close quarters this season, Pardew is confident there is still a chance that Remy could be persuaded to remain at St James' Park.
“I'm on a pretty even keel about Remy's future,” said the Newcastle boss. “I think we have got a chance of keeping him and because I am a positive person, I would like to think it is a good chance.
“I just think he has had a good year here. Sometimes, you can be a good fit at a club, and he is a good fit here. He fits in well, and performs that 'number nine' role. It wears well on him.”
Remy's future is one of a number of key decisions that will have to be tackled this summer, with the forthcoming close season likely to be a pivotal moment in determining Newcastle's future direction.
There is an obvious need to secure a top-class replacement for Yohan Cabaye, who left in January, while Remy will also have to be replaced if he leaves. With Shola Ameobi set to end his 12-year association with the Magpies when his contract expires in June, and question marks over the future of Papiss Cisse, Newcastle could even find themselves on the look out for three new centre-forwards.
If, as is entirely possible, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa also leave, they will also need proven performers in other key areas of the field.
Newcastle have been closely monitoring Remy Cabella, Benjamin Stambouli and Alexandre Lacazette, but when new managing director, Lee Charnley, spoke of making “one or two” signings in each financial year in a detailed statement earlier this month, the sums did not appear to add up.
Newcastle supporters have seen the current regime fail to live up to their transfer-market promises on a number of occasions in the past, so there is understandable scepticism whenever anyone starts pledging to bring in players.
Nevertheless, Pardew continues to insist there will be significant investment this summer, a prediction that has also been made privately by a number of senior figures at St James' Park.
“There is uncertainty among the fans about our intentions in the summer, and perhaps I know a little bit more than them,” he said. “I can feel a little bit more confident about it. Some fans may fear we are not going to move forward, but I think we will.
“I think we have got ourselves in a good position in terms of transfer preparation. We must make sure we strengthen well in the summer and we are not under any illusions about that. I'm not going to put a figure on how many are coming in, but we are certainly going to be active.”
In the immediate term, there is a pressing need to end the dreadful recent run that has seen Newcastle lose their last four matches without scoring a goal.
Remy's return should help, with fellow Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy also available to face Swansea after returning to full training this week.
“It's pleasing to have Remy in and around training again, and Debuchy as well,” said Pardew. “I think he is an important player in terms of his personality as well as his playing ability.
“That's a big boost in terms of their experience at this level. It's nice to see them back. With the World Cup not far around the corner, it's important they get the time in now.”
Hatem Ben Arfa is a doubt for tomorrow's game after struggling to shake off the knock he picked up in last weekend's defeat at Stoke.
The Frenchman has become an extremely divisive figure in recent weeks, with supporters chanting for his return to the first team at the same time that Pardew has been attempting to quell mounting player unrest at a perceived lack of application and commitment.
There are clearly fundamental issues to address if Ben Arfa is to remain at Newcastle this summer, and the winger has held a series of talks with Pardew in an attempt to repair a relationship that has become damagingly fractured in the last few months.
The pair were involved in a heated exchange of views in the dressing room in the wake of the recent 4-0 defeat to Manchester United, but Pardew insists that does not mean there will inevitably be a parting of the ways once the transfer window reopens.
“Does he have a future here? Yes. He's still contracted here for two years,” he said. “It's like all players and all situations, there's certain times when you talk to players and want more, and players want more from you as manager. Those talks go on on a daily basis with all players, not just Hatem.”