NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew today insisted a deal has NOT been done for Jose Enrique to join Liverpool, writes MILES STARFORTH.
And Pardew reiterated his intention to open contract talks with the defender (pictured).
Former Liverpool player and coach Phil Thompson claimed over the weekend a “deal has been done” for Enrique to join the Anfield club.
However, Pardew said that was news to him, and Thompson’s comments, which have heightened concern among fans that Enrique has made up his mind about a move away from St James’s Park, are being investigated.
Enrique – whose present deal runs until next year – would need permission to talk to any other club.
For his part, Pardew will attempt to set up a meeting with Enrique and his agent as soon as United have secured their Premier League status.
“There’s definitely no deal between the clubs – 100 per cent,” Pardew said. “He’s under contract here until next summer, and we hope to open talks on a new deal as soon as possible.
“That’s where we are. We want to keep our best players, and Jose’s one of them.
“As far as anything being a done deal, that’s not true. We want Jose to stay. Nothing’s changed.”
The 25-year-old has been watched by the Anfield director of football strategy, Damien Comolli, who was behind the club’s £35m British-record capture of Andy Carroll from Newcastle in January.
Newcastle, buoyed financially by the fee banked from Carroll’s sale, are ready to offer Enrique a lucrative new long-term contract.
However, Enrique’s representative told the club earlier in the year he was unwilling to enter into substantive talks on a fresh deal until the club has secured Premier League football for another season.
Ninth-placed United, on 39 points, believe another win would put them safe.
Former Spain Under-21 international Enrique was frustrated that the club’s squad was weakened, not strengthened, in the January transfer window, with the club not having had time to replace Carroll on deadline day,
Enrique, in his fourth season at St James’s, is understandably keen to challenge for trophies as he matures as a footballer.
And the former Villarreal player told a Spanish newspaper in February he was “flattered” by interest in him.
However, Enrique went on to issue a statement through Newcastle saying his quotes had been taken “out of context”.