Premier League

Pardew set for crunch Toon talks

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Wed, 22 May 2013 11:27:00

Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri claims he is at a loss to explain Nampalys Mendy's decision to leave the club this summer.

The 20-year-old midfielder's contract expires in June and he met with Ranieri yesterday to discuss his future but told the Italian he planned to leave, claiming he feared his playing time would be limited at Monaco.

But Ranieri responded with bemusement having fielded Mendy 31 times in the league this past season.

"I do not understand his attitude," Ranieri told L'Equipe. "As soon as I saw him play, I said here is our (Claude) Makelele. I trusted him and I played him.

"I think he will miss out a great deal. But it's his life, not mine. He has preferred to listen to his brother and agent and not his coach. It's a shame."

The 30-year-old is a long-standing target of Cottagers manager Martin Jol, who has attempted to bring in the Dnipro midfielder on several occasions before.

Boateng's transfer had to be put on ice previously due to contract disputes with his Ukrainian club, but a deal now looks to have been struck.

The former Getafe, Cologne and Beitar Jerusalem midfielder took to Twitter today to post a photo of himself holding a Fulham shirt at the club's Motspur Park training ground, with the comment "I'm finally happy!!!"

In an earlier post, Boateng tweeted: "I have signed a two-year deal with Fulham FC! I'm happy to see this deal confirmed! Thanks God, my family and everyone who support me!"

Fulham have yet to officially confirm the move.

Its is understood the pair, along with managing director Derek Llambias, are due to hold talks to assess what went wrong in the recently completed season and to plot a route back to the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League table.

Pardew's future has been the topic of intense speculation in recent weeks with the club engaged in a tooth and nail fight for top-flight survival after a desperately disappointing domestic campaign.

However, the 51-year-old, who signed an eight-year contract in September last year, has been bullish in the wake of the 2-1 victory at QPR, which ended their fears, and was certainly looking to the future as he contemplated his summer rebuilding programme at the weekend.

Pardew said: "The most important thing is that we react and respond to this season as a club, and I hope we can do that and then have a rest because trust me, it has been tough on a number of levels.

"But I have learned a lot and I will be better for it."

There is little doubt that a side which finished the previous campaign in fifth place drastically under-achieved last season with only an extended Europa League campaign bringing any relief.

But a narrow quarter-final defeat by eventual finalists Benfica sparked an alarming slump which saw the Magpies, unforgivably in the eyes of their fans, lose 3-0 at home to arch-rivals Sunderland and then concede six without reply to Liverpool at St James' Park.

Ultimately, salvation was to lie away from Tyneside with four points from trips to West Ham and relegated QPR sealing their fate as Pardew's critics grew in number and volume.

However, unless the situation alters significantly over the coming days, it appears he will get the chance to repair the damage inflicted during an attritional campaign with the board accepting that the decision not to invest heavily last summer was a major factor in what followed.

Pardew has already indicated that he will be looking to strengthen his squad in terms of both quality and numbers, but also experience with the club's youngsters having largely failed to step up to the plate when required.

The success or otherwise of that mission could largely depend on what is said on Wednesday and to what extent Ashley is prepared to continue to back his manager.

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