A new season beckons but the same old questions continue for Alan Pardew – about Demba Ba, about Andy Carroll and about the centre-forwards Newcastle United will have for their first game, against Tottenham Hotspur. Both? Unlikely. One? Probably. Neither? Possibly.
It is a more tricky situation to address because we are 12 days into the month when Ba, pictured, can leave for just £7m as a result of a clause in his contract that runs out at the end of this month.
That, of course, has made any form of declaration about his future particularly difficult, from either player or manager, as has the number of parties interested in any deal.
Pardew said: "The whole thing with Demba has been constant. Whether that changes I don't know, but I've not seen any sign from Demba – he's actually training very, very well and looking good – that suggests he wants another club. I don't sense that.
"He has a contract to Newcastle and he is loved here. I genuinely don't see a situation where he wants to move on. He has not stressed to me he wants to move to pastures new. He has said to me he wants some reassurance from me because he wants a more striking role this season and I think he will.
"He played a couple of roles that were unorthodox for me last season to help the team, that's the sort of person he is. He wants to play through the middle and he obviously wants to score goals – that's what he does best."Reuse content