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Evasive Pardew ready to spend

Monday, 19 November 2012 - 8:37am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
As he scratched around for the reasons behind Newcastle United's dip in form, Alan Pardew revealed more with the question he refused to answer than those that he did.

As he scratched around for the reasons behind Newcastle United's dip in form, Alan Pardew revealed more with the question he refused to answer than those that he did.

He offered the usual manager's woe as he tried to explain why his side had been so comfortably beaten by a sharp Swansea side, but ducked discussing whether the gamble not to add more players to the squad in the summer is proving costly.

Swansea were excellent, repeatedly exposing Newcastle's fragile defence while comfortably containing a midfield totally reliant on Hatem Ben Arfa for inspiration.

Pardew is justified in highlighting the loss of key players to injuries and suspensions. His side had its spine removed against Swansea with

Fabricio Coloccini, Yohan Cabaye - who needs a hernia operation which could keep him out until January - and Jonas Gutierrez joined by Papiss Demba Cisse on the sidelines.

Cisse was prevented from playing by Fifa after Senegal refused to accept he was too injured to play against Niger last week, but Newcastle's anger before kick-off over that decision and their subsequent threat to take legal action is a noisy sideshow to the concern with what is happening main stage. Newcastle's problems are at least partly of their own making and when asked whether they should have signed more players in the summer, all Pardew could do was grin and ignore the question.

Nevertheless, he freely talked about adding three or four senior players in May to build on last season's fifth place finish and cope with the diversion of the Europa League but, out of loyalty to those who employ him, Pardew sung a different tune when the transfer window shut and he had signed only Vurnon Anita.

Anita started against Swansea, but his form has been ineffective so far. He was completely outplayed by Swansea's Leon Britton, Jonathan de Guzman and the wonderful Pablo Hernandez, although so was Newcastle's returning midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote.

Newcastle's squad has stagnated. Instead of strengthening from a position of strength, the board gambled with a small group and took the risk their best players would stay fit and in form. They have not.

Their net summer spend was just pounds 3?million. Young players like Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good were bought for the future, but it is the present that managers are judged on and Pardew is, privately, desperate for signings in January. The need for the new centre-back and striker he wanted in the summer is obvious after a second home defeat in a week leaves them well off top-six pace.

Swansea had won just once in their previous nine games but Hernandez and Michu proved once again how deep Spain's talent pool is by repeatedly carving out chances. They took two of them, Michu heading in Hernandez's cross after goalkeeper Tim Krul's terrible clearance, and De Guzman sliding the ball in after Danny Graham's shot had been saved. Newcastle replied in stoppage time when Demba Ba headed in his eighth of the season, but, maybe, Pardew should look to Spain in the next transfer window.

"There is so much more money over here and very little in Spain," explained Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, who landed Hernandez from Valencia and Michu from Rayo Vallenco for less than pounds 8?million in the summer. "The financial situation is difficult and that's why you get very good players for that price."

 


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