Newcastle identify summer transfer targets

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his scouting team have started to identify potential targets for a summer recruitment drive.

Pardew is keen to be fully prepared for a crucial transfer window during which he hopes to be presented with the proceeds of Andy Carroll's £35million departure for Liverpool.

The manager's spending power will, of course, depend on his current crop of players finishing the job of securing the club's Barclays Premier League status during the remaining 10 games of the campaign.

Uncertainty remains over the futures of Jose Enrique and Joey Barton with talks over new contracts having been put on hold, but a list of prospective signings is being drawn up with the Magpies having already been linked with the likes of Cheick Tiote's Ivory Coast international team-mate Gervinho and PSV Eindhoven winger Jeremain Lens.

Pardew told Press Association Sport: "We have sat down and discussed briefly what the plans are, of course. It's very important to have a strategic plan of what you are doing.

"We don't want to be doing everything at the last minute - although like all transfer windows, you have to be patient because sometimes there are six or seven teams involved around one player who is available, and then they fall away.

"It might happen right at the last minute, but there has been three or four months' work gone into that particular player.

"We might not be signing players as soon as the window opens, but believe you me, we are very much on the case of players we feel might take us forward."

Carroll's exit at the very end of the January transfer window gave Newcastle little time in which to replace him, and they decided not to spend in haste.

Some fans remain sceptical over Pardew's claim at the time that he has been assured he will get the cash - a view voiced publicly by former boss Kevin Keegan last week - and the club's summer transfer activity could provide a clearer indication of owner Mike Ashley's plans for the future.

In the meantime, the manager and his existing squad will continue the fight for points at home to Everton tomorrow knowing victory would all but assure them of their place in next season's top flight.

Barton and loan signing Stephen Ireland are doubts with thigh problems, but striker Shola Ameobi will return to the mix wearing a special mask to protect his fractured cheekbone.

The 29-year-old has been sidelined since suffering the injury at Fulham on February 2, and it is a measure of how well Leon Best, the man who partnered him that night, and Peter Lovenkrands have performed in his absence that he is by no means guaranteed an instant return to the team.

Pardew said: "No, that's absolutely right. Peter and Leon have done really well.

"They go into this game with the shirts and it is down to their performance to keep them.

"But Shola is in and around it now, so they need to make sure they stay on their game.

"He is a very good player. He has been stuck behind very, very good strikers here for a lot of his career and perhaps has not had as many games as he would have liked.

"But he is certainly right up there with Leon and Peter and looking for a starting place, and that's the competition you want."

The Magpies have lost just one of their last nine league games, while Everton have endured mixed fortunes in recent weeks, dumping holders Chelsea out of the FA Cup before themselves falling to npower Championship Reading either side of last Saturday's 2-0 victory over Sunderland.

Pardew said: "They are a team that will be wounded after the FA Cup defeat and will come to put it right.

"Knowing David Moyes as I do, he will be very, very determined to get a positive result at our place."



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