Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes star left-back Jose Enrique could still be at St James’ Park at the beginning of the season.
This is despite the Spanish player’s name being frequently mentioned in transfer news gossip columns.
Enrique has been one of Newcastle’s best performers since signing for the Magpies from Villarreal in a deal worth around £6 million in 2007.
While Newcastle would prefer to keep hold of the player, the fact that Enrique is about to enter the final year of his contract means they may be forced to cash in this summer rather than run the risk of losing him for free in 12 months’ time.
However, Pardew is optimistic that Enrique could yet choose to sign the new contract he has been offered and extend his stay at the club to beyond the 2011-12 season.
“I’m still hopeful that Enrique – who was a big player for us last year – stays and we can entice him to stay, and obviously we are still working on that,” he told BBC Newcastle.
“We’re not confident we can keep him, but we’re not scared of losing him.”
Pardew has been busy over the last week or so, with Newcastle having agreed to the sale of skipper Kevin Nolan to West Ham.
The Magpies have also brought in Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux on free transfers over the past few days as they continue their rebuilding programme.
But with Joey Barton another player with just a year left on his contact, Pardew’s hard work appears to have only just begun.
Indeed, should Barton and Enrique follow Nolan out of the door at St James’ Park then Newcastle will look attractive bets for the drop at 7/1 unless he can bring in a few more big names.
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