Alan Pardew has warned Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley that the club are in danger of tumbling out of the Premier League if he does not allow him to spend heavily in the transfer market this month.
The Newcastle manager’s main priority is to sign a striker to replace Demba Ba, with Marseille’s Loic Remy and Saint Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang high on his wish list, but Pardew also wants a centre-back to shore up a defence that has conceded 13 goals in its last three games.
Having decided in the summer that he had to give youth its chance, Pardew is desperate to persuade Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias to allow him to strengthen his squad with senior players.
Having lost his top goalscorer, Ba, to Chelsea and with pivotal players like Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Steven Taylor missing because of injury, Newcastle are starting to fear the worst this season. They have lost 10 of their past 13 games in all competitions and sit just two points above the relegation zone, with the teams below them all showing signs of improvement.
“Mike Ashley has been very supportive,” said Pardew, who, despite his team’s woeful run of results, is not clinging on to his job at St James’ Park having signed an eight-year contract in October.
“And he has to be even more supportive in this window and he has to find the extra money for the striker. We’re not going to buy a striker for the money we’ve received for Demba. We try to get the best possible deal for the club, but we do have to take into account where we are. We are in a battle to secure our Premier League status and make no bones about that.”
Although Chelsea activated the release clause in Ba’s contract with a £7 million bid on Wednesday, Newcastle will receive less than £5 million of that as the rest is paid directly to the player and his array of agents and representatives.
Pardew, who met Llambias on Thursday to discuss his budget, has already landed France international right-back Mathieu Debuchy from Lille for £5.5 million, but he wants around £15 million more to spend on a forward and a centre-back.
“You have less options in this window,” Pardew said. “But it doesn’t mean to say it’s more difficult. There’s always a player who can enhance a team. We have a couple of strikers [on our list] who can play out wide, which would push Cabaye forward to play in a loose No 10 role for us, which is a role he’s done very well for us in the past. And we have a couple who would link up well with Papiss [Cisse] through the middle.
“It’s not just a striker that’s needed, but that’s going to depend a lot on how much the striker costs us. That’s something I think we’ll come to later in the window. The return to fitness of Steven Taylor and getting Debuchy has helped us massively in defence, but I still think perhaps another one is what we need.”
Despite their manager’s demands, Newcastle are notoriously stubborn negotiators in the transfer market and Pardew – who dismissed talk of a move for West Bromwich Albion’s Peter Odemwingie – also had a message for any agents who try to take advantage of them.
“It’s incredibly difficult with the new Premier League TV contract to try and stick to your valuation of a player,” the Newcastle manager said. “But we all recognise we want to keep the club’s finances as they are. The extra TV money can’t keep going to players and agents.”
Although the loss of Ba is a major setback, Pardew also expressed his relief that it had come so early in this transfer window and he denied it would spark an exodus of top players from St James’ Park.
“There was so much concern over Demba and it’s difficult for the players because they’re in the dark a little bit and I was,” Pardew said. “But I look round the team now and we haven’t got that situation with any of the others, they’re all on long-term contracts and I don’t see any of them leaving in this window.”
Newcastle’s players also expect to see more new faces in the dressing room before the end of the month, with goalkeeper Tim Krul conceding they are in a relegation battle despite finishing fifth last season.
“We’re down there and we should see this as a massive battle,” he said. “It’s been a hard season for us – last year everything went for us, this year we’re getting smacked in the face a few times.”