Pardew determined to spend wisely

Published May. 18, 2011 3:15 p.m. ET

The days when the Magpies spent heavily on marquee signings are long gone, with the club now operating to a strict financial structure under owner Mike Ashley. That may not be particularly popular with fans who revelled in the arrivals of £15million man Alan Shearer and - at the time - new record signing Michael Owen, but who have also witnessed the swoops for expensive flops such as Marcelino, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Albert Luque in the recent past. However, with cash far tighter nowadays even with the £35million the club received for striker Andy Carroll in January safely banked, Pardew is determined not to get it wrong. He said: "Everybody is looking to see what we are going to do and we are trying to make sure that we cover all the bases before we make our move. "We don't want to make a mistake - there have been mistakes made here in selection and on finance, so it's very important to get those (decisions) right." Pardew realises the chances of landing a bargain to match the one predecessor Chris Hughton secured with a £3.5million swoop for Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote last summer are remote. However, his coaching team has been charged with just that task as he attempts to strengthen his squad for the challenge of cementing the club's place back in the top flight. The manager has insisted since the day the Magpies decided to accept Liverpool's offer for Carroll that he would be given the bulk of the proceeds to re-invest this summer. Whatever proportion he is handed by Ashley is likely to have to cover wages as well as transfer fees, with the Magpies refusing to jeopardise the off-field stability they have achieved since their relegation from the top flight at the end of the 2008-09 campaign. They have spent recent months identifying potential targets with much of their scouting work being undertaken in mainland Europe. Domestic targets have been earmarked too, although sources on Tyneside have played down speculation that West Ham striker Carlton Cole is in their sights. But there is little doubt that Pardew's main focus will be on finding a replacement for Carroll as he attempts to bolster his forward line. In addition, the Magpies are in the market for players who will both provide the supply lines to the strikers and in the process, excite supporters. The return from long-term injury of Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa will represent a boost in that respect with the former Marseille winger having managed only four appearances before suffering a double leg fracture at Manchester City in October. Pardew has been delighted with the way the side he inherited from Hughton in December has coped with life back in the big time, but he is looking for a significant improvement next season. He said: "We haven't scored a lot of goals away from home, for example - in fact, I think we have got the worst (total) in the division, so we need to make sure that improves. "Like any manager, I am starting to review now and we have got to make sure next year we are stronger in all departments."