Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is satisfied with the way the transfer window has gone for him so far – although he admits getting another player in before it closes would be “the icing on the cake”.
The Magpies confirmed their fourth new signing of the summer today in midfielder Vurnon Anita, the 23-year-old Holland international joining from Ajax on a five-year contract.
That follows the arrivals of midfielders Romain Amalfitano and Gael Bigirimana and defender Curtis Good, and Pardew this afternoon said he would “not mind” if trading were to now cease, particularly given the key players he has so far managed to hang on to.
With the option to do more business still open to him until the end of the month, though, the 51-year-old remains hopeful of making a further addition to his squad.
Speaking about the Anita deal at a pre-match press conference ahead of Newcastle’s Barclays Premier League opener at home against Tottenham this weekend, Pardew said: “It was pleasing. Ajax are a fantastic club and to take a player out of there is difficult, especially one of their better players.
“So I thank Mike (Ashley, the Newcastle owner) and the board for getting that over the line because we needed an extra player.
“We might need another one yet, but for sure that has strengthened us.
“I wouldn’t mind it (the transfer window) closing now – I’d be quite happy to keep all my players. But if we manage to add another one that would be the icing on the cake really.”
Asked if the possibility might still be there to sign Lille’s France full-back Mathieu Debuchy, for whom Newcastle have already had bids rejected, Pardew said: “I think, like with all transfers this summer, no-one is going to say it’s over or done until September 1, when we all either have a deep sigh of relief – which I might do – or we are rubbing our hands together over what has been a great window.
“For us, so far it has been a good one. We haven’t lost any of our great players and have brought in three or four, so so far, so good.”
Those Pardew will be most delighted to still have at his disposal are the likes of strikers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba and midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, who emerged as stand-out performers for Newcastle last season as the team exceeded all expectation by securing a fifth-placed top-flight finish.
Approaches for the club’s star names may yet be forthcoming before the end of August, but the manager has warned potential suitors they would have to pay big money.
“I think it (keeping players) is key to a club like ours, where we are vulnerable to the Champions League clubs and the salaries and fees they can pay,” Pardew said.
“But as I’ve said all along here, Mike Ashley and the board don’t sell cheap, so they would have to come and pay us a hell of a lot of money to take one of our players.”
Pardew could in fact be without the aforementioned quartet of players for the Saturday tea-time clash with Spurs, with Cisse, Ba, Cabaye and Ben Arfa all needing to have their fitness assessed.
Centre-back Fabricio Coloccini should be able to play, though, despite suffering a knock in last weekend’s friendly defeat to Cardiff, while fellow defender Steven Taylor and midfielder Sylvain Marveaux are both back in the squad after long-term injury lay-offs, and Anita – along with the three other new recruits – is available to make his debut.
The Dutchman can play in defence but has been brought in primarily to operate in central midfield and he is confident he can enjoy success with the Magpies.
“I won almost everything in Holland so the step was not difficult to make,” Anita, who came through the Ajax youth system and has won the Dutch title with them in each of the last two seasons, told Newcastle’s official website.
“Now I think we can also win trophies with Newcastle and it’s time to do that.”