ALAN Pardew’s looking for Newcastle United to be pass masters – and owner Mike Ashley’s ready to back his long-term vision.
Work is already under way ahead of January’s transfer window.
And the business done is likely to have a significant influence on the club’s campaign at home and abroad.
Pardew wants to strengthen his defensive options after the club failed to sign a defender in the summer.
Newcastle’s back four has been decimated by injuries already this season.
And Danny Simpson’s contractual situation is also a concern, with the right-back’s deal running out in the summer.
“The market’s very small for us,” Pardew told the Gazette. “We want players better than what we’ve got, and it’s difficult.
“Right back is an area where there’s a bit of a question mark, as Danny has not signed a contract at this football club.
“We probably need another centre-back, I think that’s pretty obvious. We were a bit unfortunate not to get one in the last window.”
When Pardew arrived at United, he pledged to fight his corner with Ashley.
Having injected some pace into his team over the past 18 months, he’s now looking for his players to use the ball better, and keep it for longer.
To that end, Pardew needs, in his words, “better players”.
However, his discussions with Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias are kept private.
What is clear is his determination to strengthen his squad, which has been stretched by European competition, and develop the club’s young players.
“I think Mike respects me in that I haven’t done it through the Press,” he added. “I’ve done it in the right manner, in my opinion, in the boardroom.
“I’ve made it very, very clear that if we’re going to compete with the top clubs we need to pass the ball better, and we need to retain possession. If we’re going to retain possession, we need better players.
“If we’re going to get better players, not only have we got to produce our own, we’re going to have to search high and low to get the best.
“We’ve got great confidence in (chief scout) Graham Carr and our scouting team – there are a lot of footsoldiers underneath him – that we’re going to produce our own.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s Gazette for part two of our exclusive interview with Alan Pardew