Steve McClaren has no intention of allowing striker Papiss Cisse to leave Newcastle as he targets goals.
The 30-year-old Senegal international was the subject of persistent speculation over the summer and continues to be linked with clubs in the Middle East, where the transfer window does not close until later this month.
However McClaren, who needs his experienced frontman now more than ever following Aleksandar Mitrovic’s dismissal against Arsenal, is adamant he is simply not for sale.
The head coach said: “He’s not going anywhere. I came here and there was a lot of debate and talk about Papiss coming or going and whether he would be staying.
“I said to [managing director] Lee Charnley, if you look at his record it’s fantastic. Eleven goals in 22 games [last season] was fantastic and, to be perfectly honest, he was the one who was missed when the team weren’t winning those games.
“He’s a threat. He’s a goalscorer. When you’ve got Papiss in the team you always have a chance of winning games, and I think that’s what he did last season.
“I think Newcastle have a better chance of winning with Papiss in the team. He played the first two games and not the last two, but we hope he comes back ready to prove a point.”
Cisse may get that opportunity on Monday evening when they head for West Ham in the Barclays Premier League without the suspended Mitrovic.
The Serbia international has collected two yellow cards and one red in his first five appearances for the club and McClaren admits the player will have to revise his approach to English football.
He said: “You’ve seen in his general play he’s quite aggressive anyway. We don’t want to take that away but he needs to calm down. He needs to have the fire in the belly but the ice in the head.
“He needs to control his emotions and he knows that, he will identify that himself. But he wants to score that first goal.”