NEWCASTLE United have pulled down the shutters on their January recruitment drive as Alan Pardew urges his players to “learn” from their early-season struggles.
After signing five French stars over the last seven days, the Magpies have spent close to £20million on strengthening their squad for the Premier League run-in.
That will be the end to their spending, with United sources dismissing a report claiming they have made a £12m offer for Vitesse Arnhem’s highly-rated Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony as “rubbish”. They also have no plans to broker an immediate deal for Saint Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, despite talk of a £10million deal.
Newcastle do have an interest in Bastia striker Florian Thauvin but, after seeing their £2.6million offer rejected, they look ready to wait until the summer, when they have further ambitions of strengthening their attacking options.
While United remain “alive” to the possibility that bargain deals may be available in the final, frantic days of the transfer window they are not planning to make any more signings before Thursday’s 11pm deadline.
In the meantime, United are likely to place more of the striking burden on Papiss Cissé for the remainder of the season, with Yoan Gouffran signed to support the forward in a possible 4-3-3 formation. The impending return of Hatem Ben Arfa, who may even return in time for the trip to Tottenham on February 9, adds another option up front.
The wholesale recruitment drive
increases optimism ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Aston Villa, but Pardew knows that his team need to improve and take on board the mistakes made earlier in the season.
He is likely to hand debuts to Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko at Villa Park but he bristled at talk that this is a “new start” for United. Instead, he said they they must “lean” on the negative experiences they have had recently.
“We’re in the middle of a season,” said Pardew.
“We have to lean on the experiences we have gained this season. The atmosphere on Saturday (last week against Reading), we came off at half-time and should have been three goals up. It was a very complimentary stadium.
“Within 20 minutes of the second half that turned completely on its head. That is what happens when you’ve had bad results. We didn’t manage to play in that scenario. We’ve got to lean on that experience.”
Meanwhile, Pardew will address the media today with the subject of Fabricio Coloccini’s commitment to the black-and-white cause still high on the agenda.
Pardew said on Thursday that United are convinced that Coloccini is still happy to play for the club after he was persuaded to continue his Newcastle career until the summer at least.
But in a letter that appeared on San Lorenzo’s Facebook page that claimed to be from the pen of Coloccini, he didn’t sound like a man ready to throw his lot in with Newcastle.
United are investigating the letter, with Pardew set to address the issue today.
“I write these lines from a long way away where I am missing my country, my family and my close ones,” Coloccini wrote. “And with sadness of knowing that after a series of meetings held here in Newcastle that my return to Argentina has been momentarily suspended.
“Life does not always end up like you wanted it or needed it to, many times is it influenced by third parties and the rigidities of contracts that are stronger than the will of one’s own desires.
“However, I am convinced that this moment of disappointment need not be an obstacle for me to declare my profound gratitude to each and every one of you for the affection and the support that you all have provided me during these past few months, in every way imaginable.”