Steve McClaren wants Newcastle United to reject any more bids for Cheick Tiote.
The midfielder, set to line up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening, had been set for a move to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
But the proposed £4million deal broke down last month.
Tiote, however, remains in limbo at relegation-threatened Newcastle, as the Chinese transfer window remains open until late this month.
The 29-year-old made his first appearance in almost a month last weekend when he started the club’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
And McClaren feels tough-tackling Tiote’s contribution to the victory underlined why he should stay at St James’s Park until the end of the season.
Asked if he wanted the Ivory Coast international to stay, McClaren said: “I hope so. I’m certainly recommending that.
“He just showed his value. He played well before he left, came back, only had a few days training and did very well. He will get better.”
Tiote was coached by McClaren earlier in his career at FC Twente in Holland.
McClaren was also pleased with makeshift left-back Rolando Aarons’s performance against West Brom. The winger had been asked to again fill in at the back with Paul Dummett, Jack Colback and Massadio Haidara sidelined.
“It’s not just about him (Tiote), it’s about that character and attitude that those players showed and followed,” said McClaren. “When you stick Rolando in at left-back and he gives a performance like that – maturity, attitude and composure – that’s what we need. But we need that week in week out.”
Meanwhile, McClaren will next week take his players to La Manga, Spain, for a training camp and a February 20 friendly against Norwegian club Lillestrom.
Newcastle are without a game for 18 days, and McClaren felt his squad would benefit from a break and a fixture.
Asked if it was a “jolly”, McClaren said: Definitely not. We could have gone to warmer climes and more luxurious places, but it’s training camp.
“We believe that there’s a lot of work and preparation – injured players coming back need work, need togetherness – because after the Chelsea game from Stoke onwards, it’s game after game.
“It’s the most critical part of the season when you are coming into the last 10. We are in a position that we are still in that battle to climb up the league.”