Pardew to retain key players
Alan Pardew claims his most important business in the transfer window will be keeping his squad together.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 16/01/11 1:51pm
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew claims his most important business in the January transfer window will be keeping his squad together.
An array of Newcastle players have been linked with moves away from the club, with interest mounting in Andy Carroll and Joey Barton amid impressive campaigns.
Having recently tied up the long-term future of Steven Taylor, one of Pardew's main objectives is to do likewise with Barton, who has just 18 months left on his contract.
Pardew insists keeping his squad together is more important than adding to it, but he plans to strengthen where and when he feels necessary.
"The most important people at the club are the players we have and who are doing well, the Andy Carrolls, [Cheik] Tiotes and Steven Taylors of this world," he said.
"We need to make sure they stay part of the fabric of this club and we build on those with the good senior players, the Kevin Nolans, the Joey Bartons and [Steve] Harpers that we have around them.
"We have a nice balance at the moment and it's important we keep that nucleus and build on it.
"My main job so far has been to secure the nucleus rather than to build on it.
"The difficulty is that because we are a team that's not in the Champions League, we are vulnerable to Champions League teams who can pay salaries that are very difficult for us.
"It's difficult to explain to fans how to fend these clubs off, and we have managed to do that in Joey's case.
"He has 18 months to run which leaves him vulnerable, and other clubs are aware of that and they are testing our resolve.
"We hope Joey commits to us because he has been superb for me, not just as a player but within the group, and I want to secure him for a longer period, and we are going to try and do that."