Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has insisted midfielder Cheick Tiote remains a key part of his plans despite speculation linking him with a move to Russia.
The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international is understood to have been the subject of a bid from Lokomotiv Moscow but Pardew said it would take big money to prize Tiote away from the club.
Pardew said: "He's just a great player, he's just a top player. There were a couple of bids but they were nowhere near the valuation we have of the player.
"Top players demand top fees if they are going to move, but at the moment, that isn't the case. He is our player and we are looking forward to fitting him into the team.
"He is very much under contract with us and I love the way he plays, I love his mentality to the game and I look forward to seeing him this week, hopefully."
Asked if there is a contingency plan in place if Tiote where to go, Pardew said: "Yes. I've got the Andy Carroll experience here, and that's one of the benefits of being here for four years.
"But I never think that you can be safe with a player if you're not in the Champions League. Even if you're in it, now there are clubs who can go and poach from there, which has been proven in this window.
"You've got to be on your toes at all times and I have to say, I think we have been, this year in particular, really on the button on transfers.
"I've seen some inflated prices this week and that's worrying with nine days to go."
Tiote's hamstring injury means he will miss the trip to Aston Villa this weekend, but fellow midfielder Siem de Jong and loan striker Facundo Ferreyra are likely to be in the squad.
Pardew added: "Siem has to earn the right to play. Whether he is ready 100 per cent for this weekend, I am not sure. We will decide that, probably, on Friday."
However, the news of full-back Davide Santon, who underwent knee surgery during the summer, is less positive.
Pardew said: "It's not good news. When the surgeon looked at his knee there was a little bit more damage than we thought. That now looks like mid-November now rather than October."