Newcastle will offer Jose Enrique 'fantastic' new deal
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has claimed Jose Enrique will be offered a "fantastic" new contract to keep him on Tyneside.
Having seen his hopes of retaining Joey Barton's services all but dashed this week, Pardew has revealed the club will present the Spaniard's representatives with a tempting offer next week.
It has seemed apparent for some time that Enrique's future lies way from St James' Park with Liverpool, Bayern Munich and even Real Madrid having been credited with an interest in him.
However, the manager, who today tied up teenage full-back Shane Ferguson to a new five-year contract, is keeping his fingers crossed.
Pardew told the Evening Chronicle: "We have been waiting to see his [Enrique's] representatives, they are due here in the early part of next week.
"We are going to make Jose a very, very good offer and we are hoping he is going to accept it.
"We are realistic about Jose because the ball is in his court on that one, not in ours.
"He will be offered a fantastic contract here, he knows that, but still it is going to be down to his decision. I am still hopeful."
Supporters who saw Andy Carroll sold in January despite Pardew's insistence that he was going nowhere, and then Barton's contract offer withdrawn earlier this week, could be forgiven for treating his comments with some scepticism.
There is little doubt that he wants to keep the left-back, who has been one of the club's most consistent performers over the last two seasons.
However, the former Villarreal defender has spoken of his ambitions to play Champions League football, and his current employers are currently nowhere near doing that.
If he did leave, a sizeable return on the £6.5million Sam Allardyce paid for his services during the summer of 2007 might soften the blow, but lead to further questions over just how ambitious the club is.
With Argentinian duo Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez both close to Enrique and skipper Kevin Nolan yet to agree a new deal, it might also lead to further uncertainty, the last thing the Magpies need as they attempt to build upon a creditable first season back in the Barclays Premier League.
In the circumstances, Pardew and his staff have drawn up contingency plans and Toulouse defender Cheik M'Bengue is understood to be among a series of potential targets.
However, longer-term, 19-year-old Ferguson's decision to commit his immediate future to the club will have come as a welcome boost.
Derry-born Ferguson made his senior debut at left-back in the Carling Cup second round victory at Accrington Stanley in August, but also impressed in a midfield role in the final two games of the league campaign.
Ferguson said: "I'm really happy. I've enjoyed this season so much and the new contract has just been the icing on the cake for me.
"It's a great thrill to play for the club and the support I have had from the fans since making my debut really means a lot so I'm just delighted to be with Newcastle for the next five years now."
Ferguson's talent has already been recognised by Northern Ireland at senior international level with a friendly appearance as a substitute against Italy as a 17-year-old.
However, he is also eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland as he has not yet figured in a competitive game for the North, and he is the latest player to find himself at the centre of a tug of love between the two nations.
That has come as no surprise to his club manager, who is confident he has a real prospect on his hands.
Asked about the defender's international pedigree, Pardew said: "If I were the two national managers, I would be courting that boy because I think he has got a bright future."
Latest in Sport
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show