No bids yet for big-name Newcastle players
Newcastle have not received any bids for big-name players Joey Barton, Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez amid mounting speculation over their futures.
Barton's contractual situation, as well as reported interest from the continent in Argentinian duo Coloccini and Gutierrez, has sparked a whirlwind of rumours on Tyneside.
With Spanish full-back Jose Enrique seemingly destined for the St James' Park exit and Kevin Nolan already gone, there are fears among fans that the nucleus of the side which fought its way back into the Barclays Premier League and retained its status with relative comfort could be broken up this summer.
However, Press Association Sport understands that there are currently no bids on the table and therefore no decisions to be made in the short term.
Barton, Coloccini and Gutierrez, like Enrique and Nolan, were handed their current deals during an era when spending at St James' was far freer, and the regime of owner Mike Ashley has this summer demonstrated its refusal to enter into long-term agreements with older players or meet what they believe are excessive wage demands.
Enrique's departure has appeared inevitable for some time as he stalls on a new contract offer with a year of his current deal remaining, although if the 25-year-old did go, the Magpies could expect to make a handsome profit on a player they signed for £6.3million from Villarreal during the summer of 2007.
Barton, 28, who arrived on Tyneside two months earlier in a £5.8million switch from Manchester City, also has 12 months remaining, but has repeatedly spoken of his intention to stay at Newcastle, adding the caveat that the offer of Champions League football could change his mind.
Arsenal have been reported to be among his suitors, but even if a potential purchaser could persuade him to leave, they would have to come up with an offer of in excess of £4million.
Coloccini, a £10.3million signing from Deportivo la Coruna, and Gutierrez, the subject of a lengthy legal wrangle following his supposedly free transfer from Real Mallorca, have been two of the Magpies' more eye-catching performers and have established themselves as crowd favourites.
But Ashley's determination to reduce the wage bill further - it was slashed by more than £30million a year from around £75million in the immediate aftermath of relegation - could yet have implications for the better-paid members of Alan Pardew's squad.
Pardew has already recruited Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux this summer and is actively engaged in pursuing a series of remaining targets.
However, sources on Tyneside have dismissed claims that he is chasing AIK Solna pair Teteh and Mohamed Bangura or Celtic midfielder Scott Brown.
Meanwhile, defender Ben Tozer has joined League Two Northampton on a two-year deal, while winger Wayne Routledge is expected to return for pre-season training after a proposed move to promoted QPR fell through.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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