WATFORD have accused Newcastle United of showing a lack of respect and trying to unsettle Adrian Mariappa.
The Magpies had an offer for the central defender, believed to be in the region of £2m, rejected on Monday. With his team only six points and four places above the Championship relegation zone, Hornets manager Sean Dyche has signed a centre-back in this month’s transfer window – Nyron Nosworthy from Sunderland – but has no intention of selling his vice-captain.
They are particularly anxious not to lose Mariappa on the cheap.
Dyche said: “Unfortunately as you often get, the offer is nowhere near the valuation of players.
“That is 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 sell.
“Two or three years ago we were, when we sold Tommy Smith and Mike Williamson (both to Portsmouth in 2009).
“If that price reaches a certain level then a club like us will have to do it.”
Newcastle are in the market for central defensive cover for Fabricio Coloccini and Mariappa’s former partner Williamson.
With Steven Taylor out for the season with a ruptured Achilles, James Perch is the nearest thing the Magpies have to an alternative centre-back. Newcastle missed out on James Tomkins when West Ham United rebuffed an offer of around £4m and persuaded Tomkins to sign a new deal
Their only signing this month is £7.5m Senegal striker Papiss Cissé.
Watford banked £3m for Williamson, but Pompey’s financial crisis forced them to sell to Newcastle in January 2010.
Former Sunderland striker Smith moved south for £1.8m and is now at Queens Park Rangers. “The interest shown has come nowhere what a club would want to sell our players,” said Dyche.