- Premier League
Pardew powerless to resist if big clubs come calling
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted that the club will struggle to prevent the biggest clubs poaching their best players in the summer.
Newcastle have surprised many with their performance in the Premier League this season, as the Magpies go into the final weekend of the season still in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
Recent arrivals including Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have played a pivotal role in the successful campaign, but Pardew admits the club will struggle to hold onto them if some of the game's biggest clubs come calling in the off-season.
"It's impossible to restrict Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City from coming in for one of our players," Pardew told the BBC. "We have players who are not on the salaries these top clubs can offer."
Ba in particular could be tempted out of the door at St James' Park, with reports swirling in January about a £5 million release clause in the contract he signed last summer.
"Demba's release clause has been widely publicised, there is some truth to it, and some untruth," Pardew added. "There is a clause there.
"There is a situation with his contract and we are in talks with him and his agent.
"It is not a foregone conclusion that he will stay, but the Newcastle public have played their part singing his name. He must love that."
Other players could also leave - including midfielder Cheick Tiote - although Pardew warned that potential suitors will find Newcastle owner Mike Ashley a particularly tough negotiator as Newcastle look to establish themselves as a top-six force.
"Forget about Everton and Aston Villa, we have put ourselves in a similar position to Arsenal," he added. "The one security I have is that [owner] Mike Ashley is a difficult seller. He is not going to let someone go for £7m, he is going to want top, top money.
"But if Yohan Cabaye gets a call from Manchester United and they tell him he is going to be the next Paul Scholes I am not going to be able to stop him.
"It is going to cost Manchester United a shedload of money, but until we have Champions League football, and we might have that by this weekend, we cannot compete with that."
However, Pardew assured fans that the club will also be strengthening their squad in the summer - dropping a strong hint that versatile Lille player Mathieu Debuchy is high on his hitlist.
"I am contemplating bringing in someone because we don't have a dominant header of the ball. On the scouting front we are looking at a centre-half who can come and score us eight goals next season," he added.
"If we didn't have Demba Ba we wouldn't have Papiss Cisse and we are trying to bring another player to the club who is close to Yohan Cabaye [formerly of Lille]. That is another little connection and a bit of a clue for you."
Debuchy, who can play in midfield or defence, has scored five goals in Ligue 1 for the French side this season.