Alan Pardew fully intends to add to his Newcastle United squad during the summer window, but doesn’t expect this to be easy.
It is hard to believe now, but when the Magpies thrashed Stoke City 5-1 on Boxing Day, they were in sixth position in the Premier League and just six points off the top spot. Their fortunes have dipped dramatically in recent weeks, though, and their 3-0 win against Cardiff City on Saturday halted a sequence of six successive defeats.
Whilst Newcastle have never been in any danger to slipping into the relegation fight this season, any ambitions of qualifying for Europe have long vanished. And so too, it would appear, has the support for Pardew, with a large number of fans demanding he is replaced at the end of the season as a consequence of a poor campaign.
The 52-year-old remains under contract at the North East giants until 2018 after being handed a staggering eight-year deal in 2012. And rather than considering his future at the club, he is already planning for next season, although he admits signing the players he obviously needs to improve his squad is easier said than done.
“It is difficult. But we hope to recruit well,” Pardew said to The Chronicle. “We have done that since I have been here really. We lost a good player in the last window [Yohan Cabaye, who was sold to Paris St Germain for £20million]. We need to replace him for sure, maybe bring in three or four and move a couple of positions as well.”
One player who Pardew can rely on is Fabricio Coloccini. The Argentina international, who is set to represent his country at the World Cup Finals, has in the past sought a transfer to his homeland for personal reasons, but the 32-year-old now insists he is fully focused on Newcastle and helping them improve during the course of next term.
When asked if he is staying at St James’ Park, he told the Shields Gazette: “For sure. Next season I will be here. I’m looking forward to improving. We want the best. This season we finished top 10, and maybe we will bring some players. We will try to do well and finish in the top eight, or something like that. We will always try to improve.”