Pardew dismisses Enrique exit
Published 13/04/2011 | 13:42
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted there is no deal in place to sell Spanish full-back Jose Enrique to Liverpool.
Speculation has been rife in recent months the former Villarreal full-back will leave Tyneside during the summer after putting talks over a new contract on hold. Liverpool old boy Phil Thompson said in a television interview over the weekend he understood a deal had been done, a claim on which the Magpies were not prepared to comment.
However, Pardew, who has repeatedly spoken of his hopes of persuading the club's first-choice left-back to extend his stay at St James' Park, is adamant that is not the case. He told the Evening Chronicle: "There's definitely no deal between the clubs - 100%."
Pardew added: "He's under contract here until next summer and we hope to open talks on a new deal as soon as possible. That's where we are. We want to keep our best players, and Jose's one of them. As far as anything being a done deal, that's not true. We want Jose to stay. Nothing's changed."
Pardew's comments are likely to do little to placate fans concerned that one of the club's most consistent players could be heading for the exit doors. Striker Andy Carroll was ultimately prised out of the manager's grasp by the Reds' £35million January bid after repeated assurances he was going nowhere.
Indeed, Carroll had signed a new long-term contract just months earlier.
Newcastle had hoped both Enrique and midfielder Joey Barton would sign new contracts at the turn of the year, but the defender, having been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich and AC Milan, decided to wait until after the club's Barclays Premier League status was assured.
Barton also decided not to commit himself in the wake of Carroll's departure, preferring instead to wait for the club to persuade him of their ambition by tying up the likes of Enrique and skipper Kevin Nolan as well as targeting new signings during the summer.
The Spaniard endured a tough first couple of seasons on Tyneside after making a £6.3million switch from La Liga in August 2007. However, he has developed into a genuine Premier League player and it is no surprise he has attracted the interest of prospective purchasers.
Indeed, the word in the north-east has been for some time that his future lies away from St James', and his retention or otherwise will represent a major test of how owner Mike Ashley's blueprint for the future is viewed within the dressing room.