Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, has revealed he is unlikely to strengthen his forward line in next month's transfer window, despite the absence for up to a month of his main attacking threat, Demba Ba.
After seeing a £7m move for the Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga flounder when the Mali forward failed a medical over a long-standing knee problem, Pardew told supporters not to expect any further activity when it comes to bolstering an area of the side which has become over-reliant on Ba, who has scored 14 goals in an impressive first half of the season since his summer arrival from West Ham.
"I don't think we'll be bringing in a striker in this window after the collapse of the Maiga deal," Pardew said. "We'll go with what we've got, and we'll have to do a lot of work between now and the summer to locate another striker. You have to pay over the odds to invest at this stage of the season, everyone knows that, but in this window, we're looking at maybe bringing in a defender." Pardew remains an admirer of James Tomkins, the West Ham centre-back.
Whether the manager's assertion that attacking reinforcements are unlikely to arrive next month is merely a smokescreen remains to be seen, and he retains an interest in Mevlüt Erdinç, the Turkey forward who recently signed a contract extension at Paris Saint-Germain. However, with Ba set to leave on international duty for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, the fact that the rest of the Newcastle side have scored just 11 League goals between them is a cause for concern. Pardew hopes to delay the departure of his prized asset until after the Premier League meeting with QPR on 15 January, though with the competition, staged next year in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, running until 12 February, Newcastle are at the mercy of how long Senegal remain involved.
Pardew added, of a player whose goals have been largely responsible for ensuring the North-east club will go into the new year no lower than seventh in the table: "The African Nations is something we knew about when we signed Demba. He will be a big miss, but we just have to get on with it." Ba is among several Newcastle players to have come to the attention of those clubs at the Premier League's top table due to his exploits so far, with midfielders Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye in addition to Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul also attracting unwanted interest so far as the manager is concerned.
Having learned from bitter experience with the £35m departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool in January that every player has his price, Pardew said: "As much as you can say you don't want any last-minute business, you're still vulnerable to a sovereign state coming in and giving you an oil well. Clubs will think they can get a better deal at the last minute, so I'm never going to say never, you're just as vulnerable in this window.
"Every Premier League manager is, apart from Roberto Mancini at Manchester City," he added.
TiotÉ 'happy on Tyneside' despite bid speculation
Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tioté has insisted he is happy on Tyneside amid speculation his club might have a big decision to make next month.
The Ivory Coast international, 25, has been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in recent weeks.
The Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is bracing himself for a bid when the transfer window opens on Sunday, having warned potential buyers they will have to pay a lot of money for the former FC Twente player.
However, Tioté has vowed simply to concentrate on his football as the speculation mounts. He told the Evening Chronicle: "People can say whatever they want to say about me, but I'm a professional footballer and I play for Newcastle.
"I'm not thinking of leaving in January – I'm very happy playing for this club. That's my job and I need to work hard for the team and the club. I have to focus on my job for Newcastle – that's what I have to do."