NEWCASTLE are braced for late bids for midfield pair Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote.
Manager Alan Pardew knows the last few days of the summer transfer window will have a huge bearing on the Magpies’ season.
Pardew’s side lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, and work started today on preparations for Thursday’s Europa League play-off second leg against Greeks Atromitos.
However, the focus this week will be as much off the pitch as on it.
The transfer window closes on Friday night, and Cabaye and Tiote are among Newcastle’s most saleable assets.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger – who sold defensive midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona – yesterday distanced himself from a move for Tiote, though he was today linked with a move for Cabaye.
“I’m pleased with what I have, but, yes, I anticipate that we will do something,” said Wenger.
“Defensive midfielder? It depends on the quality of the players available. Tiote is a good player, but he’s not on the way to Arsenal.”
Tottenham are also looking to sign a midfielder, with Luka Modric close to joining Real Madrid.
Cabaye is understood to interest Andre Villas-Boas, who was keen on Tiote while manager of Chelsea.
Pardew, ideally, wants to hold on to all his players – and add at least one more player to his playing staff – but he’s repeatedly admitted interest from elsewhere in his squad is a concern.
Meanwhile, work is ongoing on Newcastle’s remaining incoming transfer business.
The Tynesiders have been in contact with Dutch club Twente over defender Douglas.
Fulham, the club’s main rivals for Douglas’s signature, have had a £4.5m bid accepted, and Newcastle must now match this offer.
But Pardew can offer the 24-year-old European football should his side qualify the group stage of the Europa League later this week.
Douglas, born in Brazil, is now a Dutch citizen and he can join an English club without needing a work permit.
Re-signing striker Andy Carroll, however, will prove tougher still.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has taken a tough public stance over the striker’s future in recent weeks, in contrast to his comments earlier this summer about his willingness to loan out the England international.
While United’s initial bid for a loan with a view to a permanent move was rejected out of hand, the club retain an interest in the 23-year-old and Carroll has made it clear he will only leave Anfield for the Sports Direct Arena.
Newcastle United’s players still left Stamford Bridge with their heads held high.
That’s was the verdict of Alan Pardew after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
First-half goals from Eden Hazard (penalty) and Fernando Torres saw off Pardew’s side.
Hazard struck low past Tim Krul after Vurnon Anita – making his first Premier League start for Newcastle – brought down Torres just inside the area.
Torres doubled the lead with a cool finish into the top corner, after a backheel from the impressive Hazard.
Newcastle – who were pinned back for much of the first period – improved after the break, but they couldn’t conjure up a goal, with Demba Ba having the visitors’ best chance.
Hazard – Yohan Cabaye’s former midfield colleague at Lille – was again impressive for the home side, who have invested heavily since lifting the Champions League trophy in May.
“They have spent £80m since May,” Pardew said. “Eden Hazard’s a massive player for them, and there are others.”
While frustrated by his team’s performance before the break, Pardew was heartened by the way they fought back in the second half, believing they showed “guts” not to capitulate.
“I can’t really fault my players,” added Pardew. “We could’ve done better on the goals, really, but in the second half we showed real guts.”
Ba and strike partner Papiss Cisse found chances few and far between.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Meireles (Lampard 87), Bertrand, Hazard, Mata (Ramires 67), Torres. Subs not used: Turnbull, Essien, Romeu, Oscar, Sturridge. Booked: Torres. Goals: Hazard 22 pen, Torres 45
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson (R Taylor 64), Coloccini, S Taylor, Santon (Marveaux 74), Ben Arfa, Cabaye (Perch 77), Anita, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse. Subs not used: Harper, Williamson, Amalfitano, Obertan.
Att: 41,718. Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).