Alan Pardew has insisted Newcastle's self-imposed ban on "trophy" signings does not mean that they will shun the market in the quest for top players. In issuing a mission statement at the weekend, managing director Derek Llambias confirmed the club's policy of avoiding the kind of vast expense which in the past brought the likes of Michael Owen and Patrick Kluivert to St James' Park with limited returns.
However, while Pardew agrees with that stance as the club moves towards financial self-sufficiency, he is adamant that it does not mean owner Mike Ashley is disinclined to spend heavily if they can get the right player.
"I understand their point. Not just under Mike's tenure as the owner of this football club, before that, big players signed here, and at other clubs, and have not been a success," Pardew said.
"I don't really like putting tags on players because that doesn't mean to say we can't buy an expensive players – we just need to buy the right players for this football club. I understand their point. They have been hurt, and if you have been hurt with a big, big signing who hasn't produced anything on the pitch, you are going to be slightly wary of that type of player."
Since the Magpies suffered relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season, expenditure on transfer fees and wages has been significantly reduced, with the club looking to invest in potential.
The recruitment of Ivory Coast international Cheick Tioté for around £3.5m has proved a masterstroke, while summer arrival Yohan Cabaye is already looking a bargain at £4.8m. Their captures owe much to the work of chief scout Graham Carr and his team, but Pardew also praised Llambias for getting to grips with the transfer system.
He said: "Graham and our scouts here, like any football club, work hard. There's a lot goes on in the Premier League, and all through the divisions, which goes unseen by the general fan. We must have 15, 20, maybe more than that, scouts ,who go out every week covering games and making sure we are covering all the bases. But you also need to think outside the box and I think we are pretty good at that as well.
"Derek understands how to deal with agents now and how to make sure we don't miss out on a deal or a player who might be of interest to us. Communication and information are very, very important."
Work is already under way to identify and assess potential targets for January and beyond, and although Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga is close to agreeing a move to Tyneside, Pardew – who has also been linked with unsettled QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt – insisted planning is still at an early stage.
Asked if that process was ongoing, he said: "Not in terms of discussions with clubs or players, but certainly we are looking at players and finding out the information we need to find out about their character, etc, etc."
Asked specifically about Maiga, who was a serious target during the summer, Pardew said: "I'm not going to talk about transfers in October because it's irrelevant. That hasn't come from this end."
Pardew, meanwhile, moved to quell speculation that full-back Danny Simpson could leave the club either in January or at the end of the season after the player revealed that it could be a possibility during a court appearance earlier this week. The manager said: "He's been a great player for us and he will be going forward. He wants to earn a new contract and if he keeps playing like he is, there's a good chance he will get one."
Newcastle face Wigan Athletic tomorrow, and Latics manager Roberto Martinez insists he is not prepared to play the blame-game despite individual errors costing his side dearly recently. His side have lost their last five Premier League matches in a run which also saw them exit the Carling Cup to Championship side Crystal Palace. In the last three matches in particular, isolated mistakes have turned out to be pivotal in affecting the result.
Maynor Figueroa's error at home to Tottenham saw the Latics concede a third-minute goal on their way to a 2-1 defeat in which Steve Gohouri was sent off, while Antolin Alcaraz was badly caught in possession by Darren Pratley last Saturday for Bolton's first goal.
"We know the defeat on Saturday was self-inflicted and in a way it gives you a lot of margin to work on that because you can turn things around,"he said. "It wasn't that the opposition was better than us or won without us being able to do anything about it, it was more a case of rustiness as a group."