Saturday, July 16, 2011

Football focus a problem for Jose

Speaking about the two great unknowns in the current squad, ASBO and Jose Enrique, Alan Pardew has underlined his frustration with the latter:

"Joey seems pretty focused on Newcastle whereas the noises coming out of Jose's camp are that he wants to get a new club playing Champions League football.

We cannot offer him that at the moment, so that seems to be his focus. Hopefully that will change. It is a moving feast. We have got to be ready because if he goes, it is going to leave a big hole in the team and we need to fill it quickly. But he does travel to the United States with us.

It is not ideal for us, as you can imagine. It is difficult. We have offered him a massive contract for this football club and he does not seem to want to sign it, so it is a very difficult position.

That alleged desire for Champions League football would presumably rule out a move to Liverpool, who were on his trail long before flogging off flop Paul Konchesky to Leicester. Arsenal, though, could give him what he wants and need to replace Gael Clichy.

Our own attempts to plug the left-back gap, should Enrique leave, have been hit with a setback, royally stymied by Neil Taylor's decision to sign an improved deal with Swansea. It's left us looking a little bit sheepish, our bullish assumption that we'd activated a release clause in his previous deal turning out to be misplaced. Never mind - we move on. Perhaps Burnley's Danny Fox might be a candidate, as recommended by Lloyd of The Two Unfortunates in yesterday's Football League scouting report?

Meanwhile, Pardew also confirmed there's a bid still on the table for a striker - Mevlut Erdinc, I think we can assume - though a reunion with Charles N'Somnia looks unlikely given that Aston Villa seem determined to capture the Frenchman as a replacement for Liverpool-bound ex-Smog Stewart Downing. Kazenga LuaLua appears to be on his way back to Brighton for another loan spell, this time in the Championship, while Pardew also confirmed that Wayne Routledge's future almost certainly lies away from St James' Park.

Finally, he sought to quash rumours of interest in Mr T from Chelsea. Their apparent ardour for our Ivory Coast star will have only been increased by news of the long-term injury to midfield powerhouse Michael Essien. Probably best to brace ourselves for a bid...

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