ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United aren’t “scared” of losing Jose Enrique.
But the club’s manager says he’s no nearer finding out the defender’s intentions.
Enrique, pictured lef, – who has a year left on his contract – has been offered a new long-term deal by Newcastle.
But the 25-year-old – who is wanted by Liverpool, and was linked with Arsenal over the weekend – is refusing to talk to the club.
And Pardew, while hopeful the left-back can be persuaded to stay, is confident a suitable replacement can be found should the former Spain Under-21 international leave St James’s Park in this summer’s transfer window.
“I’m still hopeful that Enrique – who was a big, big player for us last year – stays at the football club,” said Pardew.
“Obviously, we’re still working on that. Jose’s holidaying and doesn’t have too much on at the moment, so we’re not confident that we can keep him, but we’re not scared of losing him.
“It’s somewhere in between, really. When you’ve only got a year left on a player of his ability, of course you’re vulnerable, and I think it’s nervous times for us on him.”
Enrique grew unsettled last season in the wake of Andy Carroll’s sale, and has talked about his desire to play in the Champions League.
Should a bid not materialise from a club Enrique is willing to join, he could see out the last 12 months of his deal and leave on a free transfer next summer.
Newcastle’s preference, however, would be for a sale should he make it clear he won’t extend his association with the club.
Pardew’s staff have identified possible replacements for Enrique, among them Toulouse’s Cheikh M’Bengue and Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock.
United are also close to signing Swansea City left-back Neil Taylor, though the 22-year-old wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Enrique.