ALAN PARDEW last night insisted Newcastle United would not become involved in bidding wars after being rebuffed in attempts to land Watford defender Adrian Mariappa.
Pardew opted against confirming or denying the Magpies’ offer for Mariappa, but did explain he was keen to conduct the club’s transfer dealings quietly in a bid to prevent alerting others.
Newcastle’s recruitment team has worked wonders in the last two seasons by acquiring the likes of Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba on the cheap.
Just last week they stunned the Premier League by completing the £9m purchase of Bundesliga hot-shot Papiss Cisse, when most other clubs felt he was over-priced at £13m.
Pardew is now keen to bring in a new centre-back before next Tuesday’s transfer deadline, with Mariappa viewed as someone capable of stepping up to the top-flight and not as expensive as other potential targets.
But Watford manager Sean Dyche claimed last night that Newcastle’s offer for the 25-year-old defender was not worth even considering.
“Unfortunately as you often get, they offer nowhere near the valuation of players,” he said. “That's the awkward side of the game now.
“We know certain teams will try to affect our players but we are not in a position where we have to rush out and do that anymore [ie sell]. If that price reaches a certain level then a club like us will have to do it.
“The interest shown has come nowhere near to what a club would want to sell our players.”
Pardew, speaking on BBC Newcastle from the squad’s training base in Tenerife, defended his decision to pursue his transfer targets without going public.
He said: “We've tried to be as honest (as possible). Certainly my philosophy in terms of the media and fans is to get the message out there of what’s going on. I don't like there to be surprises.
“Unfortunately in the transfer market it’s very difficult because people then come in at the 11th hour. We've had big success in the transfer market just recently and other teams have noticed, it isn't lost on them.
“So when we come in for a player suddenly another club gets interested and the prices start going up ... Suddenly we get into a bidding war. That's something we try to avoid.”
While Newcastle monitor the market for a new central defensive addition, there are still fears a leading club at home or abroad could coming knocking for one of their players.
There is significant interest in the likes of Ba and Tiote, but so far Newcastle have not had to deal with any offers for their leading players, which Pardew hopes remains the case before February 1.
The Newcastle boss said: “It's seven days too long as far as I'm concerned! We've got a great side and some outstanding players. They've been marvellous this season, they really have and I just hope we can keep it all together because the way the league is structured at moment - with one or two of the bigger clubs having a few problems - it's an opportunity for us.
“We're a young side, we haven't been together long and if we can maintain our form and keep getting the wins we need we might surprise ourselves.”
Pardew took his players out for a relaxing night in Tenerife last night in the hope it helps them to overcome Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Fulham. They return back to Tyneside today ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round trip to Brighton.
“We just didn't perform second half because we lost concentration. Sometimes it feels too comfortable, it was too easy for us if I'm honest,” said Pardew.
“It's not something that worries me going forward. It was a game that got away from us. Actually it was a bit of a bonus - we had an away game and we've not lost any ground apart from a point to Chelsea.
“It hasn't worked out too badly and if we learn from the horrible lesson of the second half we can turn it into a positive.”